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December 20, 2012

U.N. Halts Pakistan Vaccine Drive after Murders of Volunteers

The United Nations has suspended its anti-polio efforts in Pakistan after eight volunteer health workers were stalked and killed by militants during a nationwide vaccination campaign, The New York Times reports.

Unicef and the World Health Organization pulled its polio workers off the streets Wednesday after two more were shot dead. The killings, mostly of women, began Monday in the city of Karachi and have spread to the Peshawar region, and appear to be coordinated, with men on motorcycles carrying out the attacks.

Militant groups have strongly opposed Western-backed immunization drives, but until this week, vaccination efforts had not been met with such violence.