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Gunmen kill driver, wound polio worker in Khyber

Updated February 14, 2015

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—AFP/file
—AFP/file

PESHAWAR: Unknown gunmen on Saturday opened fire at a vehicle carrying a team of polio workers in Landi Kotal's Lowi Shalman area of Khyber Agency, killing the driver and leaving one polio volunteer injured.

According to security officials, the polio workers were being driven to a session in the morning when they came under attack. Subsequently, the driver of the vehicle Ziarat Gul was killed and a polio worker was injured.

Security forces cordoned off the area after the incident.

Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where polio remains endemic, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria. Efforts to eradicate it have been seriously hampered by the deadly targeting of vaccination teams in recent years.

Polio cases in Pakistan reached a low of 28 in 2005 but rose to 198 in 2011. In 2012, Pakistan had 58 cases, while 93 were recorded in 2013, as reported by End Polio Pakistan.

In 2014, Pakistan reported as many as 305 polio cases, breaking its own 16-year-old record.

The WHO says the virus strain of polio found in Pakistan has affected as many as five countries over the past two years, becoming a serious threat to other countries.

Last year, the WHO imposed strict travel restrictions on Pakistan to prevent the possible spread of the polio virus to other countries.

Militant groups often attack polio teams as they see vaccination campaigns as a cover for espionage. There are also long running rumours about polio drops causing infertility.

Eight militants killed in Lower Kurram

Eight militants were killed in a clash between security forces and militants in Lower Kurram Agency.

Official sources said militants clashed in the Enjar Pataye area of Lower Kurram Agency. Security forces repulsed the attack and during the clash eight militants were killed while a soldier sustained injuries.

Security forces cordoned off the area and a search operation went underway.

Security forces to launch crackdown against militants in Bara

Separately, security forces have started preparations to launch a crackdown against militants in Akakhel and Qalanaga areas of Bara.

The administration has ordered locals to vacate the area by 6 pm today.

Action will be taken against those violating the orders.