The Taliban has a history of violence. In the past they bombed or burned over 1,000 schools. They also shot Malala Yousafzai because she was a famous advocate for girls’ rights. They also targeted and attacked healthcare workers who were working to stop the spread of the polio virus. The Pakistani Taliban’s war has affected the nation’s most vulnerable citizens. On Tuesday of this week, the Taliban executed their most deadly attack ever.
Over the span of 8 hours, beginning at 10am, a group of 9 disguised gunman hopped the school wall and assaulted children between the ages of 5-17 and teachers at a public school in Peshawar. They killed 132 school children and 13 adults. They fired at everyone they saw in the corridors and auditoriums. Some of the students were lined up and shot in the head. Others were shot as they hid under their desks. Some students were forced to watch their teachers get shot. The gunmen also threw grenades into classrooms.
Teachers elsewhere in the school realized what was happening and canceled class and tried to help the children evacuate. Some children were able to escape the building.
Parents crowded around the school gates listening to the attacks, praying that their children would survive. The town of Peshawar has already suffered attacks from the Taliban within the past 7 years. Mourners gathered at mosques that evening to pray and find comfort.
Taliban spokesman, Muhammad Khurasani, explained that the attack was in response to the continuing military operation against the Taliban members acting in the north. They targeted the Army Public School because serving army personnel’s children attend that school. However, some civilian’s children attend as well. The Taliban wanted This initiated outrage from around the world and elicited support and sympathy towards the mourning community and families. Even some other militant groups condemned the attack as un-Islamic and expressed sympathy for the victims’ families.
It was found later that the gunman were intending to mount a long attack; they even brought stores of food. A security official said,
They were there to kill, and this is what they did.
He said they had no intention of taking hostages. Many of the gunmen also wore suicide vests. The school grounds became a battleground when commandos from the army stepped in to try and gain control.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called for an emergency meeting of all politicians the day after the shooting and said,
This is a time for us to show unanimity to root out militancy.
While Pakistan has suffered many bloody atrocities in the past, the country’s leaders still haven’t found a solution to the Taliban insurgency.
This act is even being condemned by other militant groups. Attacks keep happening and will continue to happen if proper action is not taken agains the Taliban. How should this be addressed?