Taliban pledge support for Afghan polio campaign

The Taliban in Afghanistan say they will now support programs aimed at eradicating polio in the country, but won't tolerate the participation of foreigners.

Afghan government announced polio vaccination program last month

The Taliban in Afghanistan say they will now support programs aimed at eradicating polio in the country.

In a statement released earlier this week in Afghanistan, the Taliban said they asked members "not to create any kind of trouble" for health workers, but would not tolerate foreigners participating in the eradication program.

"According to the latest international medicine science, the polio disease can only be cured by preventive measures ie the anti-polio drops and the vaccination of children against this disease," the group said.

"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan supports and lends a hand to all those programs which works for the health care of the helpless people of our country."

"Foreign employees should refrain from going to the region," the group said, "and similarly the campaign should be harmonized with the regional conditions, Islamic values and local cultural traditions."

Afghanistan is one of three countries, along with Pakistan and Nigeria, where the disease remains a problem. Last month, the Afghan government pledged to vaccinate eight million children under the age of five against polio and measles.

In March, Afghanistan had to halt a polio vaccination program in Nuristan province, citing Taliban opposition.

In 2012, a 16-year-old girl volunteering in Kapisa province in a vaccination campaign was shot repeatedly. She died later in hospital.

There have been more attacks in Pakistan against polio program workers and security personnel guarding them. Five women were shot and killed in Karachi in December 2012.