Karzai Urges Taliban To Allow Polio Vaccine Teams

Published January 17, 2012 6:45AM (EST)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's president is urging the Taliban to allow teams conducting a polio vaccination campaign access to areas under their control.

Hamid Karzai said Tuesday said that whoever hampers the medical workers "is the enemy of our children's future."

Afghanistan is one of just three nations where polio remains endemic. The two others are Nigeria and neighboring Pakistan.

Last year, the government registered 80 new cases of polio, most of them in the restive southern provinces. That figure was three times higher than the total for 2010.

The polio virus, which usually infects children in unsanitary conditions, attacks the central nervous system, sometimes causing paralysis, muscular atrophy, deformation and, in some cases, death.

By Salon Staff

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