Pakistan’s Taliban Attacks Peshawar School: More Than 130 Killed

It seems that various extremist groups are in a demented contest to see who can commit the biggest atrocity. Boko Haram shocked the world with their kidnapping of school girls and claims that they had married the girls. ISIS surged into the lead with their professionally produced videos of beheadings of prisoners. But for calculated moves carrying both a high level of carnage and huge symbolism, today’s attack on Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) reaches new levels of sickness.

Pakistan’s military has been conducting the Zarb e-Azb campaign against terrorist groups in Pakistan’s tribal areas since June. The choice of a school with an army affiliation, then, is a clear message that the attack is in response to the ongoing military campaign. Further, December 16 is the anniversary of the surrender of Pakistan’s military to India in 1971, creating Bangladesh from East Pakistan. With the choice of this date, the TTP is aiming for further humiliation of Pakistan’s military.

Some information on the attack is filtering out. From the New York Times:

The siege started Tuesday morning around 10 a.m. when at least five to six heavily armed Taliban gunmen entered Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. According to initial reports, the gunmen opened fire on students and have taken dozens of them as hostages. Some students managed to escape the school compound, the local news media reported.

The gunmen entered after scaling a wall at the rear of the main school building. They opened fire and took dozens of students hostage in the main auditorium of the building, the news media reported.

Live updates on developments are being provided here by Dawn.

The attack seems to be unifying Pakistan at a time when political divisions have been deepening. Imran Khan (whose PTI party governs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province) has postponed his next large demonstration in the series of actions in which he has been calling for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to step down.

As the Express Tribune points out, the TTP has a history of attacks on education, with the most famous previous attack being that on Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousufzai in 2012. Undaunted, Malala has already denounced today’s attack. And the TTP, along with other extremist groups, have been attacking health care workers administering polio vaccines, killing one as recently as last week and four in late November.

It’s really hard to see how extremist groups think that they are helping their cause when they commit such huge crimes against humanity.

21 replies
  1. bloopie2 says:

    “It’s really hard to see how extremist groups think that they are helping their cause when they commit such huge crimes against humanity.”

    I’d guess that the righteous/fighting mind thinks differently. “Kill enough of them and they will surrender.” Witness all the infantry massacres in WWI and WWII; the A-bombs in 1945; the genocides by rebel groups all over Africa; on and on. Perhaps they don’t see themselves as extremists, but rather as potential victors. Where do you draw the line between the one and the other?

  2. Don Bacon says:

    New levels of sickness? I don’t think so.
    All war is a crime against humanity, and we don’t know the extent of the Pakistan Army’s attacks against TTP, or the full extent of US attacks against Asian villages for that matter. But General Dunford always apologized when his forces killed kids after the media learned about it.
    Killing civilians to win a war is a staple of US military history.

  3. ArizonaBumblebee says:

    The terrorist acts against students in Pakistan and Nigeria are certainly worthy of our attention and deserving of our outrage and condemnation. However, there is another recent terrorist act involving students that we would be wise not to overlook: the recent disappearance of 43 students in southern Mexico, which has sparked social unrest throughout that country and put on display the extent of penetration by the drug cartels of the institutions of the state, including its police and military. Meanwhile, falling oil prices will soon have a dramatic adverse impact on Mexico’s economy. In the end, an unstable Mexico is potentially a far greater danger to the United States than anything transpiring in the Middle East or South Asia.

  4. RUKidding says:

    Helpful to have this post and good comments. Someone else brought up the mass killings of students in Mexico which has gotten little attention in the USA.
    It’s all awful and unfortunate, especially as many of these incidents of extreme violence are carried out against innocent victims, as in Pakistan, Nigeria and Mexico.
    What do we expect, though? Team USA has used 9/11 (I happen to believe it was an inside job, but even if not, it has certainly be “used” by the PTB) as an excuse to engage in: 1) unending War, which has killed 100s of thousands of innocents across the ME and Africa, 2) Torture of many people in the name of keeping USians “safe,” 3) random Drone killings of innocents across the ME & Africa in the name of ??? Obama getting his rocks off, and so on.
    Why should WE in the USA be even “surprised” at incidents like this, as horrific as they are. What about the cold-blooded murder of students across the USA by citizens who freak out and go on rampages? How is THAT different from this? After all, when the Adam Lanza’s of our nation – who somehow are kitted out with an insane arsenal of weapons & ammo – go on their mental illness rampages, what changes? Exactly bupkes except the NRA and their enablers in Congress (I mean: EVERY pol in Congress) ramp up the volume about the alleged 2d Amendment rights to “bear arms.”
    Not trying to derail this conversation, but just pointing out that the USA is INSANELY VIOLENT anymore, and so, how is this killing in Pakistan by the Taliban any different from what WE do EVERY DAY???
    Something to ponder. Violence begats violence. We’re told that the USA TORTURED and killed 100s of thousands in order to “keep the US safe.” And now we see ISIS rising up in response (plus, interestingly enough, “finding” loads of US weaponry, equipment and ammo, why how convenient was that?). And so on.

    • Don Bacon says:

      I agree with you. The US in Vietnam wantonly destroyed whole villages; only My Lai was publicized. In Afghanistan (as in Iraq) for many years there have been US bombers in the air 24/7 on call to drop ….candy canes? I don’t think so.
      The US carrier fleet in the Persian Gulf area — to show the flag against Iran? No, to conduct 24/7 bombing raids in Afghanistan (and now Syria/Iraq). (also from a ‘secret’ US airbase in Qatar, the home of al-Qaeda)
      Aerial bombing is notoriously inaccurate, and proper damage assessment isn’t done. None of this gets publicized, of course. Any US journalist that reported any such news, if he were able to get it in the first place, would not get his article past the editor. It simply isn’t done.
      We can still demonize others for doing similar acts, and that’s not a bad thing. Let’s just keep it in perspective. PS: If the TTP had bombers, they would use them.

      • RUKidding says:

        Not to mention that the Torture Crew (aka CIA) turned Afghanistan back into a NarcoState, as they did in Viet Nam. Who knows what the CIA and the DEA & ICE are doing in Mexico, but it’s sure is a hella mess down there right on our border.
        Viet Nam was a clusterf*ck for many many reasons that mostly never saw the light of day. The propagandists managed to sell it to the US populace based on the nonsensical “domino theory,” and that we HAD to do it to keep the USA “safe” from the dad-blasted horrific COMMIES!
        Now we’re fed lies upon lies about Torture by that evil dick Cheney, who has the nerve to say that it kept the US “safe” from further attacks on our soil. Oh really? And what happened on 9/11 and why did it happen and who actually let it happen? And for how much longer will we be allegedly “safe” and “safe” from whom as the NSA just had their spying on US citizens expanded by the recent “budget” bill.
        Insanity upon insanity. Depravity upon depravity. Violence made more violent.
        When will we ever learn?

    • amspirnational says:

      Beginning perhaps in the 1960s when the US went full tilt for Israel, one can argue that something like 9-11-2001 was inevitable.

  5. galljdaj says:

    Well Jim, You leave me wondering, how much worst is the attack on the Peshawar School than either the Blanket Bomb of Afghanistan, and/or the uses of DU Armaments on the Iraqi Peoples?

  6. Ed Walker says:

    The Taliban guy says they killed the kids of army officers because the army guys are killing the Taliban kids.


    • P J Evans says:

      The Afghani Taliban are condemning the attack. That’s how stupid they think it was. The Pakistani Taliban now have the Pakistani Army angry at them.

      • Don Bacon says:

        The Pakistani Taliban now have the Pakistani Army angry at them.
        There is some belief that the TTP are reacting to a recent major Pakistani offensive in their area which destroyed one or more villages with many casualties.

  7. Don Bacon says:

    Meanwhile the TTP, reportedly with help from Pakistani militias, is reportedly conducting a major offensive in Afghanistan, starting two days ago in Kunar province, east of Kabul. (There are also Taliban offensives north and south of Kabul, and elsewhere.)
    In other news, Obama says the war is over.

  8. wallace says:

    It’s really hard to see how extremist groups think that they are helping their cause when they commit such huge crimes against humanity.

    Youbetcha, and the Torture Report is living proof.

  9. RUKidding says:

    Will the NRA come out in support of the Taliban’s right to bear arms? After all, when US citizens begin killing random adults and children in the USA, the NRA’s “on it.”
    There’s a huge front page article in my local nooz paper about this today with much tsk-tsking about the dreaded evil Taliban. Not to make light of this. It’s horrid and beyond my comprehension.
    But how are US citizens any much better? Not joking. We need to all take a good hard look at ourselves, not to mention what we US taxpayers are paying for to happen in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. WE are responsible for far more dead kids than this particular incident (as terrible as it is). How does this incident get to rate front page blaring headlines with photos? Why is it “OK” when WE do kill many more children than this, either here in the USA or “over there”??

  10. Don Bacon says:

    Here is a video of the recent Pakistan Army offensive in Waziristan against the TTP, the Army’s former ally.

    and headlines:
    Terrorist massacre of children ‘blowback’ from U.S.-backed Pakistani offensive against Taliban, officials say
    Former Pakistani ambassador to Washington calls his government’s military strategy ‘inadequate’

  11. Don Bacon says:

    Personally I reject any and all implications that somehow American citizens have any responsibility for the government’s reprehensible conduct. The government controls the media, so whoever has seen interviews with the survivors of US aerial bombing attacks, for example? Nobody, that’s who.
    What the people get instead is stories about horrific — a favorite US word — barrel bombs dropped by terrible regime terrorists like President Assad, and also “terrorist” reactions to two thousand pound fragmentation bombs dropped upon their houses, killing all those inside except for the one of more who must exact his/their revenge upon the US-allied government perps who wiped out his family.

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