A commander of the Pakistani Taliban has forbidden polio vaccinations in the tribal area of North Waziristan, just days before 161,000 local children were to be inoculated.
Hafiz Gul Bahadur claimed that the vaccine program was simply a cover for espionage by the U.S. spy agency, the Central Intelligence Agency.
Bahadur cited the activities of Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani doctor who allegedly used a similar vaccination program as subterfuge for helping the Americans track down Osama bin Laden.
The Taliban chief declared that polio treatments in his territory would be banned until the U.S. military ceased its drone missile strikes in the lawless region.
Pakistan is one of three countries in the world where polio is still endemic.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.