Resource July 28, 2015

Meet the Journalist: Tim McGirk

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After dozens of vaccination workers were killed in Afghanistan, polio once again began to spread...

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Image by Jason Motlagh, Blackbeard Films.

On the verge of eradication in Pakistan, polio made an alarming comeback. In 2011, a CIA ploy—using a vaccination campaign to track down Osama bin Laden's hideout—backfired and led to Islamic militants believing that all polio vaccination workers were American spies. These militants in the Pakistani borderlands with Afghanistan began killing dozens of vaccination workers, and the disease once again began to spread.

In 2012, Islamic fighters from the tribal area heeded a call for jihad in Syria. Less than a year later, the virus re-surfaced in eastern Syria in areas under rebel control. Experts claim that the polio found in Syria was identical to the Pakistani strain.

Tim McGirk discusses his reporting from Pakistan and Syria, where he looked at unforeseen consequences of the raid on Osama bin Laden's hideout.

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