Five police officers killed in a blast in Pakistan during a polio vaccination campaign.
During a polio vaccination campaign in northwest Pakistan, an explosive device targeted the car of a police officer, resulting in the deaths of at least five cops and the injuries of about twenty more.
According to Al Jazeera, the explosion happened early on Monday morning as Pakistan launched its most recent immunisation drive in Bajaur, a tribal district in the bordering province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Five of those wounded were in critical condition and have been shifted to the provincial capital, Peshawar, about 133km (82 miles) south of Bajaur, Al Jazeera reported.
“The blast took place early in the morning when the police team went out for the polio vaccination drive. We have shifted most of the injured to local hospital in Bajaur while critical patients were sent to Peshawar,” Bilal Faizi, spokesperson for the provincial rescue services, told Al Jazeera.
The incident was not immediately attributed to anyone.
The Pakistan Taliban, usually referred to by its name TTP, has murdered numerous security personnel and polio immunisation workers in Pakistan in recent years.
After the US spy agency, the CIA, staged a fictitious vaccination campaign to search down Osama bin Laden, who was killed in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad in 2011, opposition to the polio vaccine campaign intensified in Pakistan.
Religious authorities in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan also disseminated false information, claiming that the vaccination had traces of alcohol and pork, both of which are prohibited in Islam.
The only two nations that have not yet been deemed free of the wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV-1) disease are Pakistan and Afghanistan.
According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a nation must demonstrate that WPV-1 transmission has not occurred for at least three years in order to be declared “free of polio”.
In 2023, Pakistan recorded six cases of polio, a significant decrease from 20 cases nationwide in 2022.
There was a sharp increase in violent incidents in Pakistan at the same time as the attack on the polio vaccination team.
Data from the Pakistan Institute of Conflict and Security Studies, a research body with its headquarters in Islamabad, shows that in 2023, there were over 600 violent incidents in the nation, up 70% from the year before and killing over 950 people.