Unidentified assailants shot and killed three polio vaccinators today in northwest Pakistan today. The deaths come on the heels of a spate of attacks on Monday and Tuesday and bring to nine the total number of polio workers killed in the past 3 days; two others were injured. In response, Pakistani government officials have suspended the 3-day polio vaccination campaign that was being conducted across the country, says Oliver Rosenbauer, a spokesman for the World Health Organization, one of the international partners supporting Pakistan in its effort to eradicate polio.
Details are still emerging, but the shootings took place in Peshawar, Nowshera, and Charsadda, all in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where another polio volunteer was killed on Monday. On Tuesday, five polio workers were shot and killed in the megacity Karachi, at the southern tip of the country.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but many suspect the Taliban, which has opposed polio vaccination, calling it a plot to sterilize Muslim children and threatening polio workers.