By Hannah Brown
Recently in Pakistan, at the Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar, a city near the border with Afghanistan, Taliban gunmen with suicide-vest climbed the school walls and cornered and shot students and teachers alike. 145 people were reported dead, including the gunmen, eight hours later once the Pakistani army and the school security forces had killed all the assailants.
The Taliban targeted the school for employing women and educating girls, as well as being a military-supported school. The school educates students of both genders up to the age of 16, and had approximately 2,500 students. The Taliban frequently target girl’s schools, as the education of girls and women they consider against Sharia. And one of the main professed goals of the Pakistani Taliban is the opposition to the Pakistani government, for its alliance with the West and its implementation of Western-style education in some schools.
When the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed credit for the massacre, they said it was a response to recent Pakistani military attacks on Taliban militia in tribal areas of northeastern Pakistan. They have previously claimed credit for numerous murders of individuals not following their interpretation of Sharia law, and leaders who stood against the TTP, or Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. The TTP claimed responsibility for the shooting of Malala Yousafzai, recent Nobel Peace Prize winner and 17-year-old female activist for education and human rights. They believe that Islam supports the execution of those who do not comply with Sharia law, the moral law of Islam, which is interpreted with vast variation between sects of the religion.
The Pakistani government condemned the attack with burning words that reflect not a wavering commitment to their progress in the eradication of terror, which was the Taliban’s ‘justification’ for the massacre, but an immense anger that further rejuvenates their cause. The Prime Minister said, “We will take revenge for each and every drop of our children’s blood that was spilt today.” Yousafzai, a victim of such violence, said her heart was broken “by this senseless and cold-blooded act of terror.
“…I, along with millions of others around the world, “ said Yousafzai, ”mourn these children, my brothers and sisters — but we will never be defeated.”