Horrific school massacre may backfire against Afghanistan Taliban
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By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online
12/17/2014 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
As members of Afghanistan's Taliban swept through an army-run school in Peshawar, the results were horrifying. Unarmed children cowered under benches as armed gunmen indiscriminately slaughtered all who stood in their path. All told, 132 children and nine school staff were massacred by the Taliban in the country's deadliest ever terror attack. The Taliban in this nation previously had many supporters - but this latest incident may have very well turned the tide against the terrorist group. People are rightfully questioning - who would do such a thing?
The Afghanistan military sweeps the streets following the deadly attack on the Peshawar school.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pakistan Taliban has long conducted an insurgency against the Pakistani government. They wish to overthrow existing systems in order to institute Sharia law.
The Afghanistan Taliban says the school attack was revenge for the killing of hundreds of innocent tribesmen alongside their children during a recent offensive by the Pakistani military.
One of the dead is honored in a solemn funeral procession.
The Pakistani government had earlier held tentative peace talks with the Pakistan Taliban, but those talks were suspended them after two brazen attacks around Pakistan's largest airport in Karachi in June.
Pakistan's military has since been conducting a ground offensive aimed at clearing out the groups and other militants in the loosely governed tribal areas of northwestern Pakistan, displacing tens of thousands of people.
Against Western-style education for children and the employment of women, Afghanistan militants shot education activist Malala Yousafzai in the head in 2012. She survived to receive a Nobel Peace Prize last week.
The school that was attacked this week educates both boys and girls in separate classes. It's also the main school for the children of army personnel in Peshawar and employs both male and female teachers, making it a desirable target for terrorism.
The Pakistan Taliban is also vehemently opposed to the U.S. military presence in the region. In addition to vowing to force U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, they claimed responsibility for the failed bombing in 2010 in New York's Times Square. The group has also vowed revenge against the U.S. for the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Analyst Peter Bergen believes this attack could backfire most spectacularly against the Afghanistan Taliban. While the group may have gained a lot of publicity, Bergen says, this attack on schoolchildren is seen as beyond the pale. The ripples will be felt through Pakistani politics.
"If the intent was to get the Pakistani military or the Pakistani government to back down, that is just not going to happen," he said. "I think the level of outrage in Pakistan right now is off the charts."
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