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Pakistan Mourns After Taliban Massacre

Pakistan Mourns After Taliban MassacrePakistan Mourns After Taliban Massacre

Pakistanis mourned as mass funerals got underway Wednesday for 142 people, most of them children, killed the day before in a massacre by the Taliban at a military-run school in the country’s troubled northwest.

Prayer vigils were held across the nation and in other schools, students spoke of their shock at the carnage in the city of Peshawar, where seven Taliban gunmen, explosives strapped to their bodies, scaled a back wall using a ladder to get into the Army Public School and College in the morning hours on Tuesday, wrote the Associated Press.

Students were gunned down and some of the female teachers were burned alive. The attack was the deadliest slaughter of innocents in the country and horrified a nation already weary of unending terrorist assaults. Army commandos fought the Taliban in a day-long battle until the school was cleared and the attackers dead.

The government declared a three-day mourning period, starting Wednesday. Overnight, the body of the school principal, Tahira Qazi, was found among the debris from the rampage. Her death raised further the earlier reported death toll of 141.

Some of the funerals were held overnight, but most of the 132 children and 10 school staff members killed in the attack were to be buried Wednesday. Another 121 students and three staff members were wounded.

“They finished in minutes what I had lived my whole life for, my son,” said laborer Akhtar Hussain, tears streaming down his face as he buried his 14-year-old, Fahad. He said he had worked for years in Dubai to earn a livelihood for his children.

The Taliban said the attack was revenge for a military offensive against their safe havens in the northwest, along the border with Afghanistan, which began in June. Analysts said the school siege showed that even diminished, the militant group still could inflict horrific carnage.

The attack drew swift condemnation from around the world. Even Taliban militants in neighboring Afghanistan decried the killing spree, calling it “un-Islamic.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to step up the campaign that - along with US drone strikes - has targeted the militants.

“We will take account of each and every drop of our children’s blood,” said Sharif, who rushed to Peshawar shortly after the attack to offer support for the victims.

Meanwhile, A US drone strike in eastern Afghanistan killed four Pakistani Taliban members and seven other insurgents, a district government official said Wednesday.

The drone’s missiles killed the militants on Tuesday afternoon as members of the Pakistani Taliban were attacking a school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, near the Afghan border, said Mahlem Mashuq, the governor of Sherzad district in Nangarhar province

 

Financialtribune.com