Taliban i Swat-dalen og de nordvestlige grenseområdene av Pakistan, hevder poliovaksine er et amerikansk komplott og nekter 300. 000 unger å få vaksinen.
Extremist clerics have used mosque loudspeakers and illegal radio stations to spread the idea that the vaccinations cause infertility and are part of a US-sponsored anti-Muslim plot.
Dr Abid said that militants have not allowed polio vaccinations to take place at a critical time.
«Polio vaccination is effective in first three months of the year when virus transmission is lowest and so there is no interference with the vaccine virus,» said Dr Abid.
Militants had reportedly agreed to allow the vaccination program to take place as part of the peace agreements.
However, the militants had reneged on their word and despite assiduous efforts made by the increasingly irrelevant local administration, no vaccinations have taken place.
«It’s a US tool to cut the population of the Muslims. It is against Islam that you take a medicine before the disease», said, Muslim Khan, Swat’s Taliban spokesman, speaking by telephone.
Yesterday government officials convened another meeting in Swat an attempt to break the impasse, according to Dr Abdul Jabbar, the WHO’s polio team leader in North West Frontier Province (NWFP).
Swat had recorded 4 cases of polio last year of the total 53 recorded by NWFP and the tribal areas. Pakistan had 118 cases in 2009.
The WHO recorded 39 cases of polio in Pakistan in 2006, up from 28 in 2005. The disease is concentrated in NWFP where 60% of the refusals were attributed to «religious reasons».