The Associated Press reports: A militant commander in northwest Pakistan warned polio vaccination teams on Saturday to stay away from the territory he controls near the Afghan border, saying he would not allow immunizations until U.S. drone attacks in the country are stopped.
The statement by Hafiz Gul Bahadur is an obstacle to efforts to beat polio on Pakistan, one of only three nations where the virus is endemic.
The threat came in a pamphlet distributed Saturday in markets in the troubled North Waziristan tribal region. “We don’t want benefits from well-wishers who spend billions to save children from polio, which can affect one or two out of hundreds of thousands, while on the other hand the same well-wisher (America) with the help of its slave (Pakistan’s government) kills hundreds of innocent tribesmen including old women and children by unleashing numerous drone attacks,” it said.
The pamphlet also said spies could enter the region under the cover of vaccination teams to get information for the United States about “holy warriors.” It said teams who disregarded his warning would be responsible for any consequences.