United Nations mourns the death of health workers and halts polio vaccination campaign in Kunduz and Takhar Provinces of Afghanistan
24 February 2022
Eight polio vaccination workers in four locations in northern Afghanistan were killed today while carrying out their life-saving work. One member of the vaccination transit team was killed in Taloqan district in Takhar province, four members of house-to-house teams were killed in two separate incidents in Kunduz city, and two vaccinators and a social mobilizer were killed in Emamsaheb district of Kunduz province.
The United Nations extends its deepest condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of these courageous health workers.
We are appalled by the brutality of these killings, across four separate locations. This is not the first time health workers have come under attack. In 2021, we witnessed the killings of nine innocent polio workers during national polio vaccination campaigns. These are the first attacks on polio workers since nationwide campaigns resumed in November last year.
Polio immunization campaigns are a vital and effective way to reach millions of children to protect them against polio. Depriving children from an assurance of a healthy life is inhumane.
This senseless violence must stop immediately, and those responsible must be investigated and brought to justice. These attacks are a violation of international humanitarian law.
The United Nations strongly condemns all attacks on health workers anywhere. The delivery of health care 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. With immediate effect, the national polio vaccination campaign has been suspended in Kunduz and Takhar provinces.