Gunmen shot and killed five women who were administering polio vaccines to children in Pakistan today, in a pair of attacks likely intended to strike fear into health workers across the country. The Taliban has been a vocal opponent of the government's UN-backed drive to vaccinate children against polio, claiming that the vaccine is harmful and that the workers administering it are American spies, the AP reports.
Four women were killed in Karachi today, in an attack that also critically wounded two male workers. Gunmen on motorcycles also gunned down a 17-year-old girl overseeing an anti-polio campaign near Peshawar, Reuters reports. "These incidents are depressing, and may cause difficulties in the anti-polio drive, but people should not lose heart," a senior health official said. The government is "determined to eliminate polio despite all odds and difficult conditions."