Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
Savages: In coordinated attacks, Taliban terrorists in Pakistan murdered one man and five women, whose only job was to administer polio vaccines.
Yesterday, a male polio worker was fatally shot, and today four women were killed within about 20 minutes of each other in three apparently coordinated attacks in poor Karachi neighborhoods, including Gadap, where the July shootings occurred. Another woman was killed in Peshawar. Taliban insurgents have repeatedly threatened campaign workers, but so far no one has claimed responsibility for the current or previous attacks. Pakistani officials and international groups supporting the polio campaign are still trying to piece together what happened, says Bruce Aylward, who heads the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
“The implications [of the attacks] run way beyond polio,” Aylward says, because targeting health workers will deprive Pakistani children from receiving other basic health services as well. Local leaders and community authorities have “got to assume responsibility and assure that the message gets out that this is not acceptable,” Aylward says.
We can’t have children get healthcare or avoid getting polio, can we? It might offend Allah.