CTC SENTINEL: "Taliban Campaign Against Polio Vaccination in Pakistan"

September 02, 2014

Pakistan has struggled to cope with the spread of polio, a debilitating viral disease. Human infections are frequently reported despite government and international agencies’ efforts to eliminate the disease.[1] According to a World Health Organization (WHO) estimate, at least 72 polio cases were recorded in Pakistan in 2013, compared to 58 cases in 2012.[2] In 2014, the number of infected children had already reached 115 through August.[3] The most affected provinces of Pakistan are Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP). One key reason behind this spread is the Pakistani Taliban’s propaganda campaign against receiving polio vaccinations, as well as their direct attacks on polio vaccination workers.

This article reviews the Pakistani Taliban’s offensive against the polio immunization program in Pakistan, especially in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and KP, and it highlights how Pakistani Taliban militants—as well as sectarian militant groups—have unleashed a sustained armed campaign against the health workers and the security personnel who escort them. The article also discusses various regional biases against the vaccination programs while examining Taliban decrees that denounce them.


SENTINEL (Combating Terrorism Center, West Point, US), August 2014

SENTINEL (Combating Terrorism Center, West Point, US), August 2014