The Taliban, the new rulers in Afghanistan, have approved the resumption of the vaccination campaign against polio, according to the United Nations. The campaign kicks off on November 9 across the country.
It is the first time in more than three years that an attempt has been made to vaccinate all children. The young target group also includes 3.3 million children who could not be reached in previous efforts, mainly at the hands of Taliban fighters.
World Food Organization envoy to Afghanistan Luo Dapeng has called the Taliban’s decision “a crucial step in the right direction”.
The polio campaign has previously been thwarted in areas controlled by the Taliban fighters. There have also been deaths among employees who tried to vaccinate children. In addition, the Taliban accused aid workers of collecting information for the enemy.
Since mid-August, however, the Taliban have controlled almost the entire country. In recent years, the foreign troops that helped keep the pro-Western government in Kabul in power have dropped out. The last American troops left the airport in the capital Kabul at the end of August.
Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only countries where polio is still prevalent.