Taliban to allow polio vaccination campaign in border area

After facing consistent pressure over the issue, the Afghan Taliban recently announced that it will permit a polio vaccination campaign to commence in the volatile Afghanistan-Pakistan border area.

The announcement, made by a Taliban spokesman, came a day after Afghan President Hamid Karzai called for insurgents to allow vaccination teams to assist in saving children from the paralyzing illness, according to CNN.

The move may be an attempt by the Taliban to gain a greater measure of respectability as progress moves towards peace talks.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said that fighters have been ordered to allow the teams to work as long as they do not use government facilities.

"The polio vaccinators must not use government resources, including vehicles and soldiers, and they should use their own resources so that they impartially execute their program," Mujahid said, CNN reports.

Mujahid said that the Taliban has always supported vaccination.

The Afghan presidential palace recently released a statement calling for the Taliban to let the program go forward.

"The president appeals to religious scholars, mullahs and community leaders and elders to cooperate with the immunization teams by persuading the opposition to allow vaccinators to administer polio drops to children against the permanent paralysis," the statement said, reports.