mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Christians Massacred in Peshawar After Sunday Service


Yet another horrific religiously-motivated massacre occurred this Sunday, this time in Pakistan. The New York Times:

The attack occurred as worshipers left the All Saints Church in the old quarter of the regional capital, Peshawar, after a service on Sunday morning. Up to 600 worshipers had attended the service and were leaving to receive free food being distributed on the lawn outside when two explosions ripped through the crowd.

Dozens of people were killed and more than 100 wounded, said Akhtar Ali Shah, the home secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

The death toll continued to rise as rescue workers sifted through the damaged church property, said Hamid Ullah, a rescue worker with Al Khidmat Foundation, a rescue service operated by the Jamaat-e-Islami political party. He said his team had recovered 75 bodies.

The dead included women, children and two Muslim police officers who had been posted outside the church. Witness reported scenes of mayhem as rescue workers ferried victims from the church, which witnesses said was scattered with body parts, shrapnel and bloodied clothing.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been trying to open talks with the Pakistani Taliban, but his offers to negotiate have thus far been spurned. At first, the Taliban made sweeping, unmeetable demands of the government. And then as if to underline their contempt, they killed a senior Pakistani general near the Afghan border last week. And now this. The FT is reporting that Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni Muslim militant group aligned to the Taliban, is thought to be responsible.

It’s hard to imagine how negotiations could continue after such a series of violent slaps in the face. That sound you hear may very well be the dirge playing for Nawaz Sharif’s ill-fated Taliban outreach efforts.

[Pakistani Christians stage a protest in Lahore on September 22, 2013, against the killing of their community members in two suicide bomb attacks on a Church in Peshawar. Photo courtesy Getty Images.]

Features Icon
show comments
  • USNK2

    When ViaMeadia starts noting which Pashtun tribe is doing what, then maybe these horror attacks will have context.
    After all, Peshawar was historically part of Afghanistan until the 1830’s.

    • Damir Marusic

      People love to talk about redrawing lines on maps as if by merely doing so we’d rid ourselves of the legacies of Mortimer Durand, Mark Sykes and their like. It’s generally not that easy.

      But anyway, leaving its merits aside, your point is quite outside the scope of a short blog post noting a beastly atrocity and its implications for Sharif’s stillborn Taliban outreach initiative.

      • USNK2

        Damir: the Kingdom of Afghanistan lost their winter capital of Peshawar in the 1830’s to Ranjit Singh’s short-lived Sikh Kingdom of the Punjab.
        Many local wars later, the Durand Line was drawn in 1893.
        I was not suggesting redrawing colonial boundaries here.

        I was inquiring if the Mehsud Pashtuns of Waziristan bombed Peshawar’s All Saints Church, perhaps as a barbaric attempt to erase the British legacy of missionaries in Peshawar.

        And, do not see this as any barrier to Sharif’s outreach to Pakistan’s Taliban, which is led by the Mehsuds.

        Just because westerners are more comfortable labelling “Taliban” does not mean the Afghan and Pakistani governments do the same. They know the intricacies of the Pashtun tribal histories.

        Took me ten years to figure out the Afghan Taliban are mostly Ghilzais (and what that means to the Popalzai Durranis), and the Pakistan Taliban mostly Mehsuds, who still have a blood feud with the Yousefzais of Swat, adding a new dimension to the barbaric Taliban shooting of Malala Yousefzai.

  • Atanu Maulik

    The religion of peace spreading peace and love.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service