A Taliban leader in North Waziristan who is favored by the Pakistani state has banned polio vaccinations until the US stops conducting drone airstrikes in the tribal areas.
Hafiz Gul Bahadar, the senior Taliban leader in North Waziristan who is known to shelter top al Qaeda leaders, said the polio vaccination program is “used to spy for America against the mujahideen.” A statement released by Bahadar referenced Dr. Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who aided the US in finding and killing Osama bin Laden. Adridi is currently serving a 33 year prison sentence for charges of supporting the Laskar-e-Islam, an Islamist terror group based in Khyber.
“As long as drone strikes are not stopped in Waziristan there will be a ban on administering polio jabs,” a statement released by Bahadar’s group said, according to The News.
“No one will have the right to complain about damage in case of any violation … Polio campaigns are also used to spy for America against the mujahideen (holy warriors), one example of which is Dr. Shakil Afridi,” the statement continued.
Bahadar has objected to the US drone strikes in the past. On Nov. 12, Bahadar suspended meetings with the government and threatened to attack the Pakistani state if it continued to allow the US to conduct attacks in areas under his control.