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Pakistan Policeman Killed While Protecting Health Workers

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A Pakistani policeman has been shot dead while protecting a polio vaccination team in the country's tribal region of Waziristan, bringing the death toll for such attacks to 11 since December.

Reports say gunmen opened fire on a polio team near the northwestern town of Mardan on Tuesday.

The local Taliban faction has banned polio vaccinations in the area, alleging the operation is a cover for espionage. There have also been rumors that the vaccinations are an attempt to sterilize Muslim children. According to UN figures 19 health workers including polio outreach workers were killed last year in Pakistan

Polio cases have risen sharply in Pakistan in recent years, reaching a high of 198 cases in 2011. Pakistan is one of very few nations left in the world where polio is endemic.

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