Taliban militants carried out a vicious assault on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, that has left at least 130 people dead, most of them children. As Reuters reports:
The attack at a military-run high school attended by at least 500 students, many of them children of army personnel, struck at the heart of Pakistan’s military establishment, an assault certain to enrage the country’s powerful army.The Taliban, waging war against Pakistan in order to topple the government and set up an Islamic state, immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.“We selected the army’s school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females,” said Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani. “We want them to feel the pain.” […]Officials said 122 people were wounded. A local hospital said the dead and injured were aged from 10 to 20 years old.
The attack provides yet more evidence that the radical jihadi movement is a nihilistic death cult that is at war with everything good. As in Nigeria, where Boko Haram has declared war on education and war on medicine, in Pakistan the Taliban is at war with anybody who tries to teach children the skills they need to flourish in the contemporary world—and with anybody who tries to vaccinate kids against polio and other diseases. The mix of superstition, ignorance and hate that powers these groups under the name of religion is one of those hateful ideologies that must be resisted and fought.For the Pakistani army, which ran the school that was attacked by these lost souls, the challenge is particularly dire. The Pakistani army has been in bed for years with people who espouse the most evil of ideas, content to use them as a tool against enemies in India and at home. The Pakistani government has tolerated and even supported the rise of a climate of bigotry and hatred that resulted in a degradation of public and religious culture. Vicious, murderous bigotry has made a place for itself in Pakistani institutions and ideology.The chickens are coming home to roost. One must hope that the Pakistani authorities who actually run the country’s security policies will at long last begin to perceive just how ruinous the course they are on actually is. If not, atrocities like this one will become more common, and not only in Peshawar.