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1 killed, 1 wounded in fresh attack on polio workers in Pakistan

By Shaan Khan, CNN
updated 6:41 AM EDT, Wed May 29, 2013
Paramedics treat an injured polio health worker at a hospital following an attack by gunmen in Peshawar on Tuesday,
Paramedics treat an injured polio health worker at a hospital following an attack by gunmen in Peshawar on Tuesday,
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Pakistan is one of three countries in the world where polio has yet to be eradicated.
  • The Taliban announced a ban on polio vaccinations in June
  • Pakistanis have viewed polio vaccination campaigns with suspicion

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Gunmen fired on two female health workers administering polio vaccines in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, killing one and wounding the other.

The shooting on the outskirts of Peshawar was the latest in a series of deadly attacks against those giving out the vaccine.

Two men on a motorbike opened fire on the two women while they were going house to house in the village of Bedh Der, said local police official Shafi Ullah.

One woman died at the scene; the other was critically injured, Ullah said.

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Pakistan is one of three countries in the world where polio has yet to be eradicated.

Pakistanis have viewed polio vaccination campaigns with suspicion after the CIA's use of a fake vaccination program in 2011 to collect DNA samples from residents of Osama bin Laden's compound to verify the al Qaeda leader's presence there.

Bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in May 2011.

In June, a Taliban commander in northwest Pakistan announced a ban on polio vaccines for children in the region as long as the United States continues its campaign of drone strikes in the region, the Taliban said.

Opinion: Drones decimating Taliban in Pakistan

It wasn't immediately clear if the Taliban played a role in Tuesday's attacks.

Polio, a highly infectious viral disease that can cause permanent paralysis in a matter of hours, has been eradicated around the world except for three countries where it is endemic: Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan.

After the number of cases spiked sharply last year, Pakistan stepped up its eradication efforts. The numbers fell from 173 in 2011 to 58 in 2012, according to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

Polio workers come under fresh attack in Pakistan

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