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Afghanistan: Muslims murder polio workers amid claims vaccine is Western conspiracy to sterilize Muslim children

It’s not just in Afghanistan: a Pakistani Muslim cleric has said that polio vaccinations are un-Islamic. And in Nigeria, a Muslim cleric was arrested for playing a role in sparking the murders of polio workers.

“Five Afghan polio vaccinators shot dead,” AFP, June 15, 2021:

JALALABAD, Afghanistan: At least five polio workers were shot dead in eastern Afghanistan Tuesday, officials said, in the area’s second attacks on vaccinators in less than three months.

The workers were gunned down in three separate locations within hours in a “coordinated attack,” Nangarhar provincial police spokesman Farid Khan said.

“This is the work of the Taliban, targeting health workers to deprive people of polio vaccines,” he said.

Health ministry spokesman Osman Taheri confirmed the attacks. The Taliban denied responsibility.

Polio has been eradicated across the world apart from Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, where distrust of vaccines and eradication campaigns is rife.

The Taliban and religious leaders often tell communities that vaccines are a Western conspiracy aimed at sterilizing Muslim children, and they also suspect immunization drives are used to spy on militant activities.

Officials say the Taliban do not allow door-to-door vaccination campaigns in areas they control.

Tuesday saw five vaccine workers killed and one wounded in a spate of attacks across Nangarhar, the local government said. Three were also wounded in the provincial capital, Jalalabad….

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