Taliban Bans Polio Vaccines Until US Drone Strikes End

North Waziristan commander halts vaccines in region
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2012 8:52 AM CDT
In this Wednesday, May 30, 2012 photo, a Pakistani child is given a polio vaccination by a district health team worker outside a children's hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

(Newser) – The Taliban has decided to use Pakistan's kids in the fight to end US drone strikes. It announced that it has banned polio vaccines in North Waziristan until said strikes are ended. "Almost every resident of North Waziristan has become a mental patient because of the drone strikes, which are worse than polio," reads a statement released by a Taliban commander in the northwest. "On one hand, the US spends millions of dollars to eliminate polio, while on the other hand it kills hundreds with the help of its slave, Pakistan."

It's unclear whether the ban will actually halt vaccinations in North Waziristan or elsewhere in the northwest region, CNN notes. Pakistan is one of just three countries that has not eradicated polio, and that fact played heavily in the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound last year. The Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA locate bin Laden ran a door-to-door vaccination campaign in an attempt to get bin Laden's children's DNA. Though the US says the plan failed, Pakistani health officials have accused the CIA of undermining the country's fight against polio. (Read more polio stories.)

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