Militant commanders in Pakistan ban polio vaccine

Militant leaders in two districts of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas recently declared that polio vaccination teams would not be allowed to conduct a three day campaign in those areas, leaving approximately 250,000 children without protection from the crippling disease.

The ban on polio vaccinations will do more than leave the very young vulnerable. Because each child under the age of five requires three doses of the vaccine to ensure immunity, it will negate the effects of previous campaigns, a prospect that could further threaten efforts to eradicate the disease.

The militant commanders, based in North and South Waziristan, said that they believed the program was a ruse orchestrated by the United States and its allies to aid in infiltrating the region, according to Time.

"In the garb of these vaccination campaigns, the U.S. and its allies are running their spying networks in FATA, which has brought death and destruction on them in the form of drone strikes," Mullah Nuzir, a militant commander in South Waziristan wrote, Time reports.

Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a commander in North Waziristan, said he would continue to enforce the ban until the United States ended drone strikes.

"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," Bahadur wrote, Time reports.