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Maintaining Health Gains In Afghanistan Must Be Aim Of Drawdown Agreements

Foreign Policy: The Taliban Are Winning The War On Polio
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health, and Maxine Builder, research associate, at the Council on Foreign Relations

“This week’s tragic reappearance of polio in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, after 13 years, poses serious questions about the future of health in the country following the scheduled withdrawal of United States military personnel at the end of 2014. … Time will tell if this case of polio in Kabul is a harbinger of grim times ahead. Achievements in health have been made in Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001. … But these advances in health outcomes are fragile, and continued investment is needed to keep up these gains. … Maintaining forward movement in the improvement of health must be a key part of all agreements related to the withdrawal of U.S. military and government personnel, United Nations agencies, and NGOs. Otherwise, there is the real possibility that Taliban plots to obstruct polio vaccinations could derail many hard-fought gains in global health and development…” (2/12).