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Polio Worker Killed In Pakistan's Tribal Areas

Armed men have gunned down a health official supervising an antipolio drive in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas.

The incident occurred on March 26 in the Khyber tribal district, among seven located along the porous border with Afghanistan.

Local officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal that 40-year-old Akhtar Khan was in his clinic in Khyber's Lwargi area when armed men opened fire and killed him on the spot.

Police said one suspect had been arrested.

No one so far has claimed responsibility for the attack, but militants in the area have previously threatened and attacked polio workers in the locality.

Polio vaccinators are regularly targeted in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, in areas outside government control, slowing progress in wiping out the debilitating disease.

Militants say the polio vaccination campaign is a cover for Western spies or a conspiracy to sterilize Pakistani children.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries where the disease is still endemic.

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    RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal

    Radio Mashaal was launched in January 2010 in order to counter a growing number of Islamic extremist radio stations in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province (now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the border with Afghanistan.