Taliban varslet i begynnelsen av juli at det forbyr poliovaksine. Forbudet vil ventelig ramme en halv million barn i Helmand-provinsen.

Taliban i Pakistan har i lengre tid praktisert det samme forbudet og skutt teamene som reiser rundt og vaksinerer.

Taliban i Afghanistan har inntil nå valgt en annen kurs og tillat vaksinasjon. Men nå er de to Taliban-bevegelsene på linje.

Polio er på vei tilbake i Pakistan. Kabul meldte om det første tilfellet siden 2001 i år.

Taliban commanders have banned health workers from delivering polio vaccines across southern Helmand, aping their counterparts across the border in Pakistan where the virus is spiralling out of control.

The Afghan Taliban had previously publicly supported the programme but now claim spies are posing as vaccinators.

Local health officials say the decision puts half a million children at risk, further undermining hopes the disease can be eradicated from its last three remaining reservoirs – Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In a statement, the Taliban accused the United Nations of using vaccines as a political tool, administering drops in areas controlled by the government and the US. It also said the world body was sending workers to Taliban areas to act as spies.