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Bomb kills 2 in Pakistan antipolio drive

Volunteers comforted a mourner Monday after the killing of a policeman in a bomb attack that also took the life of a  member of a peace committee.

Hasham Ahmed/AFP/Getty Images

Volunteers comforted a mourner Monday after the killing of a policeman in a bomb attack that also took the life of a member of a peace committee.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A bomb exploded next to a van carrying Pakistani security guards tasked with protecting workers involved in an antipolio drive in the country’s northwest on Monday, killing two people, according to officials.

The attack was the latest incident of violence against the government- and UN-backed effort to eradicate polio from Pakistan.

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The bomb killed a police officer and a member of a volunteer peace committee, said the senior superintendent of police operations for Peshawar district, Najeeb ur-Rehman.

The attack occurred in the village of Malikhel, about 12 miles outside the provincial capital of Peshawar. The victims were protecting workers administering antipolio vaccine to residents.

In 2011, Pakistan had 198 confirmed polio cases, the highest number of any nation. It was able to bring that number down to 58 in 2012 through an aggressive vaccination program.

But the success has come at a steep cost.

Militants who oppose the vaccinations often target workers delivering the vaccine and threaten people who want to get their children vaccinated.

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