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Afghan President Calls On Taliban To Allow Polio Vaccinations

An Afghan health worker administers polio vaccine to a child during a vaccination campaign in Herat in 2010.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has expressed concern over the polio situation in Afghanistan, and called on the Taliban to allow teams conducting a vaccination campaign access to areas under their control.

In a statement released by his office, Karzai said that "those who stand in the way of vaccination are the true enemies of our children's future."

Karzai also appealed to religious scholars, mullahs, community leaders, and elders to cooperate with the immunization teams by persuading the opposition to allow vaccinators to administer antipolio drops to children.

Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan are the only three countries where polio remains endemic.

Last year, the Afghan government registered 80 new cases of polio -- a figure three times higher than the total for 2010.

compiled from agency reports