Attack in Jalalabad forces authorities to suspend operations on second day of resuming the vaccination campaign after five members of two teams were killed.
Gunmen have targeted members of polio teams in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least five members of two vaccination teams in separate attack, officials said.
No militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks that took place in the city of Jalalabad, as well as in the nearby districts of Khoyani and Surkhrud, according to Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for the governor in Nangarhar province. Jalalabad is the provincial capital.
Along with the five killed, at least four members of the polio vaccination teams were wounded, said Dr Jan Mohammad, who coordinates the anti-polio drive for the country's east. Khogyani called the attacks cowardly, adding that two of the wounded were in critical condition.
Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan are the only two remaining countries in the world where polio is endemic, after Nigeria was last year declared free of the virus.
The vaccination drive in the province had now been halted, a health official told AFP.
Daesh have history of carrying out such attacks
In March, Daesh said it shot and killed three women who were part of a polio vaccination team, also in Jalalabad, the capital of Afghanistan's Nangarhar province.
The Daesh affiliate is headquartered in eastern Afghanistan and their numbers are believed to have gone down after recent government offensives and clashes with the rival Taliban.
Daesh has also taken responsibility for several targeted killings that have taken aim at the country's nascent civil society, as well as journalists and legal professionals.
Though not uncommon in Afghanistan, attacks on polio vaccination teams are more frequent in Pakistan, where the Pakistani Taliban and other militants regularly stage attacks on polio teams and security forces escorting them. They also target vaccination centers and health workers, claiming that anti-polio drives are part of an alleged Western conspiracy to sterilize children or collect intelligence.
Though struggling with a new, third surge in coronavirus cases, the Afghan government has in recent months sought to inoculate 9.6 million children against polio with the help of UNICEF. In 2020, Afghanistan reported 54 new cases of polio.
US and NATO withdrawal
The increased violence and chaos come as the US and NATO are completing their military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The estimated 2,500-3,500 US soldiers and 7,000 NATO-allied troops are to be gone by September 11 at the latest, though there are projections they may be gone by mid-July.