United Nations, June 16: A senior UN official on Tuesday condemned the killing of five health workers and the wounding of four others carrying out a polio vaccination campaign in Afghanistan's Nangarhar Province.
The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Ramiz Alakbarov, said that he was "appalled by the brutality of these killings," adding that "the senseless violence must stop," urging Afghan authorities to bring those responsible to justice.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the deaths and injuries occurred Tuesday during five separate attacks on health workers - the latest in a recent spate which saw three health workers killed in March during the national polio vaccination effort in Nangahar.
Earlier this month, humanitarian workers with the Halo Trust demining group came under attack in northern Afghanistan, where extremists from an ISIL affiliate killed 10 and wounded more than a dozen, in what the UN Security Council described as an "atrocious and cowardly targeted attack."
Alakbarov said the national polio vaccination campaign which only began on Monday, aimed at reaching nearly 10 million under-fives, had been suspended in the eastern region. "Polio immunization campaigns are a vital and effective way to reach millions of children... Depriving children from an assurance of a healthy life is inhumane."
"The UN strongly condemns all attacks on health workers anywhere. The delivery of healthcare is impartial, and any attack against health workers and those who work to defend them is an attack on the children whose very lives they are trying to protect," he added.
The UN extended the deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of those who lost their lives, wishing the injured a full recovery.
According to news reports, Afghanistan reported 56 new cases of polio last year. But officials have reported that only one wild polio virus case has been detected in the country since October last year, according to UN News.
Source: Xinhua