Outside a polio vaccination center in Quetta

Bad news from Pakistan:

Pakistani officials said at least 14 people have been killed in a bomb attack outside a polio vaccination center in the southwestern city of Quetta on Wednesday. The attack appeared to target police, and came before vaccination teams were due to launch a three-day immunization campaign.

Nobody has stood up to say “we did it!” yet, but al-Qaeda is suspected.

Militants have claimed that polio vaccination programs are a front for espionage or used to sterilize Muslims.

Islamic clerics have told their followers that the West conspires against Muslims, and that they use a substance found in the polio vaccination to sterilize Muslim men.

The clerics also point to the case of a Pakistani doctor who was said to have run a fake vaccination program for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to help track down al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

I think the US has admitted that last item.

Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, head of Pakistan’s anti-polio program, says fewer people are falling for the propaganda used by Islamist extremists.

“Far fewer parents are refusing the vaccine, while the number of newly infected children so far this year is less than 40,” the polio chief told the German news agency dpa.

However, Pakistan is still at risk, as more than 35,000 children are said to be without the polio vaccination.

Last year Pakistan declared a national emergency when a record 306 cases where tallied, the highest since 1998.

Of polio – a horrific disease.


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