Kabul, Afghanistan (AP) — On Tuesday, officials said the attackers shot three women working on anti-polio vaccines in eastern Afghanistan.
A woman was killed in two separate attacks in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar. Fared Khan, a spokesman for the Nangarhar police, said the two were shot dead in police district 7 and the third was killed in district 4.
Local media reported that he had not been arrested in the case, according to a person in the governor’s office. Officials who were not allowed to talk to the media said on condition of anonymity.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but eastern Afghanistan witnessed an increase in attacks by Islamic State groups. IS militants have declared war on Shiites and frequently target the country’s minority Hazara.
On Monday, the government launched another round of polio vaccination nationwide with the goal of inoculating 9.6 million children under the age of five. The eradication of polio occurred after 54 new cases of polio were reported in 2020. This is the highest number since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan, is the only country in the world where polio is still endemic, after Nigeria was declared free of wild poliovirus last year, according to the United Nations. With the increase in polio cases over the last three years, the fight to eradicate catastrophic children’s illness has become a crucial challenge for Afghanistan.
Most national vaccination campaigns are conducted by female healthcare professionals, who can improve access to homes and mothers and children through door-to-door visits.
Earlier this month, an Islamic State group claimed responsibility for killing three women who also worked for local radio and television stations in Jalalabad. Mursal Wahidi, Sadia Sadat and Shahnaz Raufi quit their jobs together and were killed in separate attacks on their way home.
In the meantime, many other attacks have not been requested. The government today most blames the resurrected Taliban, which controls almost half of the country. The Taliban then denies any role in part of the attack and blames the government.