Afghan Taliban Ends Ban On Polio Vaccination In Country

The Taliban leadership in Afghanistan “has ended its war on polio vaccination workers and admitted immunization is the only way to protect children from the disease, its leadership said in a statement” issued on Monday, The Telegraph reports (Babakarkhail, 5/13). “Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, released a statement extolling the virtues of polio vaccinations, urging Taliban commanders to support the efforts of international organizations working to eradicate the disease,” the New York Times writes, adding, “While that has been the Taliban leadership’s position for some time, aid groups welcomed the commitment, particularly given the Pakistani Taliban’s campaign against polio workers next door” (Ahmed, 5/13). “The statement released by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan warns aid groups against employing foreign workers in its strongholds, and underscored the importance of the campaign’s respect of ‘Islamic values and local cultural traditions,'” Devex notes (Ravelo, 5/14). “The announcement comes just weeks after the Afghan government launched a new campaign to immunize more than eight million children between six months and five years old throughout the country,” The Telegraph adds (5/13).