Islamic fundamentalists in Pakistan are again expressing their moral outrage over the effort of the international community to vaccinate their children against polio. In the latest case, at least 12 security officials were killed and nine others injured in an ambush on a clearly marked medical convoy in the Jamrud area of the Khyber tribal region. It appears that both murder and denying children polio vaccines are viewed by these men as a pure expression of faith and morality.
The militants hit the convoy with improvised explosive & devices (IEDs) and then racked the convoy with automatic fire. They then prevented the wounded from being removed for medical treatment.
We previously discussed how the Taliban is opposing similar efforts violently in Afghanistan.
Polio is an epidemic in Pakistan by Islamic rebels have killed over 40 health care workers to prevent them from protecting children.
The United States has been accused by some of responsibility for these attacks. The CIA used a fake polio vaccine program to hunt for Osama Bin Laden and obtain DNA from suspects. The attacks on health care workers sharply increased as a result with militants treating all such efforts as presumptive Western intelligence operations. The use of a health care program remains controversial. The use of reporters or health care professionals endangers thousands of people who should be treated as neutral parties in these disputes. This, of course, does not excuse these fanatics or justifies their actions. They continue to use religion as a rationalization for murder and other atrocities. Thus it is not surprising that they would use the Bin Laden raid in the same fashion. However, I would be interested to know if anyone at the CIA raised the danger to health care workers if they used the polio program as part of their operation.