Kabul: The Taliban militant movement gave its backing on Tuesday for a coronavirus vaccination campaign in Afghanistan that has received a $112 million pledge from the World Health Organization’s COVAX program.
The immunization drive will have to take place amid relentless violence in the country despite the government and the Taliban insurgents opening peace talks in September.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters that the group would “support and facilitate” the vaccination drive conducted via health centers. Officials believe the insurgents would not target vaccine teams as they would not be going door-to-door.
Announcing the funding, an Afghan health official said the program would cover the 20% of the country’s 38 million population.
The COVAX program is a global scheme to vaccinate people in poor and middle-income countries against the coronavirus. It aims to deliver at least 2 billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021 to cover 20% of the most vulnerable people in 91 poor and middle-income countries.
Afghanistan’s Deputy Health Minister Waheed Majroh told journalists it was going to take six months to get the vaccines but authorities were in discussions to get them earlier.