“NGO security threats are at an all-time high. I have never in almost 20 years known things as bad as this,” Chris Cork, country security adviser for the UK-headquartered Abaseen Foundation, an NGO working chiefly in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province, told the United Nations’ news agency, IRIN.
IRIN reports that over the past few weeks there “has been an upsurge in attacks on aid workers, many of them linked to a national polio eradication campaign in one of the world’s last three countries where the disease remains endemic.” This is thought to, at least partially, be fallout from the U.S. effort to kill Osama Bin Laden. IRIN goes on to state:
“In 2011 Shakil Afridi, a government-employed doctor, collected DNA samples from a residential house in Abbotabad which helped the US Central Intelligence Agency identify the whereabouts of Bin Laden, who was killed in a US raid. It is alleged that Afridi, since sentenced to 33 years in jail, masqueraded in his native Khyber Agency as a polio vaccinator in order to collect the samples.
Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for militant group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, told IRIN: ‘Afridi was a traitor and naturally people now suspect all anti-polio workers of being US agents.’”