Ever since the CIA used a vaccination ruse in its hunt for Osama Bin Laden, health workers have become combatants in Pakistan’s war with the Taliban.
Militants have banned immunizations and accused those attempting to deliver them of being Western spies. Medical workers have become inadvertent fighters against the Taliban and other extremists as they try to rid the country of a virus that paralyzes and often kills young children. Pakistan has never been free of polio, a disease eliminated in the U.S. more than 30 years ago, and zealots have vowed to make its eradication impossible through a targeted campaign of shootings, kidnappings and roadside ambushes.
This is my first story for Foreign Policy magazine and came out of a recent reporting trip to Pakistan.