Taliban renounces war on anti-polio workers

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The Taliban has ended its war on polio vaccination workers and admitted immunisation is the only way to protect children from the disease, its leadership said in a statement issued today.


The announcement comes just weeks after the Afghan government launched a new campaign to immunise more than eight million children between six months and five years old throughout the country. It said it had trained 46,000 volunteers to conduct the campaign which is funded by the American aid agency USAID, the World Health Organisation and Unicef.

AfghanistanPakistan and Nigeria are the three remaining countries in the world where polio remains a serious threat, but efforts to eradicate the disease have been sabotaged by the Taliban and other Islamic militants who have assassinated immunisation volunteers in all three countries.

Eleven polio workers were killed in Pakistan last year, including five women who were shot dead in Karachi in December last year. Earlier this year a police officer protecting vaccination campaigners was shot by motorcycle gunmen in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. In Afghanistan, a 16 year old girl involved in an anti-polio vaccination campaign in Kapisa province was shot six times in the stomach outside her home last December and died later in hospital.

Written By: Zubair Babakarkhail and Dean Nelson
continue to source article at telegraph.co.uk

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  1. Now all we need is that other evil blight on the human race , the catholic church , to admit that it is wrong about HIV protection through condom use . Now , that WOULD be a miracle because , the catholic church is obvioulsy more locked into their mind numbing stupidity than even the taliban .

    • In reply to #2 by Alakan:

      I’m surprised they didn’t claim that vaccination was mentioned in the Quran.

      I’m sure it has plenty references to sticking pointy objects into people that would cover them..

  2. If even the Taliban can behave sensibly, even after the extreme provocation of immunisation worker spies, there is hope for the vaccination deniers in the west.

    Mainstream Islam has not been as anti-science as fundamentalist Christianity. The original idea was you were supposed to study and marvel at Allah’s creation. The anti-science bent is relatively new. The main reason we know so much about the ancient Greeks is the Arabic translations of their works. Muslims take great pride in saying things like “the Qur’an said the moon shines by reflected light, long before science figured this out.”

    • In reply to #3 by Roedy:

      Muslims take great pride in saying things like “the Qur’an said the moon shines by reflected light, long before science figured this out.”

      It seems many Muslims do take pride in saying things like this. But we should probably be discouraging them. There seems to be a lot of desperate activity to make the Qur’an seem relevant in a scientific age. But there does not seem to be anything in the Qur’an that clearly says the moon’s light is reflected. See http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Science/moonlight_wc.html
      In general these sort of religious people are victims of Confirmation Bias. So the slightest possibility of interpreting the archaic poetic ‘prophetic’ language of their ‘holy book’ as conformable with science is seized upon, and more likely interpretations are rejected.

      In the limited worldview of the Qur’an what we now call Polio might have come under a generic ‘leprosy’. Here’s Allah jogging Jesus’ memory in 5:110

      “and thou healest those born blind, and the lepers, by My leave.”

      So perhaps the Taliban think you need the permission of Allah to heal Polio. No doubt they think they can grant this permission.

    • In reply to #3 by Roedy:

      Muslims take great pride in saying things like “the Qur’an said the moon shines by reflected light, long before science figured this out.”

      Muslims take great pride in saying a lot of things which make the Quran look like an enlightened source of information, but the fact of the matter is that what the Quran actually says about the moon bears no resemblance to what they claim. It is all interpretation.

  3. Welcome but painfully slow progress. Meanwhile back here in Blighty I note as reported on the Radio 4 Today programme yesterday that young Shia Muslims in Bradford are taking on the Shia tradition of ‘temporary marriage’ ( an Islamic way around prostitution) to ‘try each other out’ before permanent marriage.
    I believe we call that ‘going out together’ here. Lets hope the slow progress towards reality whether immunisation or ‘getting to know each other’ continues and Mr Allah gets used to the idea that the viruses bugs and ‘social mores’ he created are being taken on and defeated.

  4. Maybe Taliban leaders have seen a few TED-talks and maybe they realise that not all from the West is evil. Maybe it is a step in the right direction. Maybe.
    If they could see that the West is grateful for what medieval Oriental science did for seeding new ideas here we could get along better with each other. And stop vilifying each other. Maybe.

    • In reply to #12 by Rosbif:

      Now if we can just find a vaccine against Islam, we’ll make real progress.

      Exactly. My first thought on seeing the picture, was that the symptom of the greater malady afflicting humanity could be seen on the left.

  5. I feel like I did when the IRA announced their first ceasefire: We should be grateful that you’ve decided not to murder people?

    I’ve succeed in not murdering someone every day of my life. Where’s my medal?

  6. While last year I was feeling Rage at the attack on the Vaccination Volunteers, I am now Considerably happier at the change.

    My problem is that the Rage is still there and now I know due to their reversal of position (someones kid probably caught Polio(my unfounded sarcastic statement, but i have a problem with thinking this was all due to good intentions)) that the deaths had no reason or purpose even to those who were ordering the attacks.

    This was simply mass murder for political purposes, 11 dead primarily female trained volunteers for what is now no good reason. If we were able to declare secular saints, to me these martyrs to medicine and the public good deserve it, statues in towns, awards in their names, names read in memorial at sporting events, etc they should not be forgotten and I am ashamed that I know none of their names and may have never even been told many of them.

    And for the murderers, I have problems reconciling my rage.

  7. I think it would be good if the Red Cross were to include some members of the Taliban in this effort and invite them to accompany them on their inoculation rounds. That way people could see that protecting children from polio is an issue on which everyone agrees.

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