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U.N. suspends polio drive in Pakistan after killings

8 killed in past 2 days – Islamists charge program a cover for espionage

(MSN) The United Nations suspended its polio vaccination drive in Pakistan on Wednesday after eight people involved in the effort were shot dead in the past two days, a U.N. official said.

The suspension was a grave blow to the drive to bring an end to the scourge of polio in Pakistan, one of only three countries where the crippling disease still survives.

On Wednesday, gunmen shot at a woman working on the campaign in northwest Pakistan, killing her and her driver, one of five attacks during the day on polio workers. A male polio immunization worker was critically wounded in one of the shootings.

This week six other people have been killed who were working on the immunization program, which has been jointly conducted with the Pakistani government. No one has claimed responsibility, but some Islamic extremists charge that the program is a cover for espionage.

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