March 30 (UPI) — Three women were killed while administering polio vaccines in Afghanistan on Tuesday, UNICEF said.
Four vaccinators were attacked in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, including the three women who were killed, according to a statement by UNICEF Director Henrietta Fore, who said the organization was “outraged” by the attack.
“UNICEF expresses its deepest condolences to the families, colleagues and friends of the courageous vaccinators who were at the forefront of efforts to combat the spread of polio and keep Afghanistan’s children safe from this disabling disease,” Fore said. “Frontline health workers should never be a target of violence. They must be able to carry out their life-saving activities in a safe and secure environment.”
Two of the women were shot and killed by two gunmen as they entered a house in Jalalabad to vaccinate children who lived there, The New York Times reported.
The third, a supervisor for the polio vaccine campaign, was shot and killed about an hour later somewhere else in the city.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the killings but Taliban spokesman Zabinullah Mujahid said the group was not involved.
U.S. Charge d’Affaires to Afghanistan Ross Wilson condemned the killings saying attacking vaccinators “is as heartless as it is inexplicable”
“Today’s murder of three polio campaign workers demonstrates a total disregard for human life,” he wrote on Twitter. “Such attacks are a direct affront to Afghans’ dream of building a better life for their children. My deepest condolences for the victims’ families as we call for justice.”