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Eight polio vaccinators killed in series of Afghan attacks

KABUL (AFP) – Eight members of polio vaccination teams working to eradicate the crippling virus in Afghanistan were killed yesterday in four separate attacks, the United Nations (UN) said.

Polio teams were frequently targeted by insurgent groups in Afghanistan until the Taleban’s takeover of the country last year, when the hardline Islamist group said it wanted to work with the UN to stamp out the disease.

In the past polio campaigns in Afghanistan – and neighbouring Pakistan – were accused of being fronts for spying, while some clerics said the vaccine was a conspiracy to sterilise Muslims.

“We are appalled by the brutality of these killings, across four separate locations,” the UN said in a statement.

“This senseless violence must stop immediately, and those responsible must be investigated and brought to justice. These attacks are a violation of international humanitarian law.”

A Taleban fighter stand guards in Kabul, Afghanistan. PHOTO: AP