Health care workers are attempting to eradicate polio by penetrating remote areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan controlled by the Taliban:
Because all the Afghan polio cases in 2013 have been reported here in the eastern half of the country, these National Immunization Days have special importance in this region. As with the global campaign writ large, polio here has receded greatly over the past two decades but with serious setbacks along the way: Although cases dropped after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, an outbreak in 2011 brought 80 new cases and a general sense of emergency. And so the eradication program—which is government-run but supported financially by who and unicef —ordered a “surge” in Afghanistan. They doubled the international staff and cracked down on underperforming and corrupt officials. This year, the surge has paid a huge dividend, in that the war-torn south of the country, for a long time the greatest problem area, now appears to be free of the virus. It’s the inaccessible areas in the east, where Jalalabad is, that are now the main concern.