16 December 2014

Juan Cole on the Pakistani Taliban's School Massacre

Juan Cole provides useful background and context in understanding an incident yesterday in which six or seven Pakistani Taliban militants killed about 145 people mostly older school children and injured more than a hundred more, while burning several teachers alive at a school run by the Army in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan.

In a nutshell, he explains that the Pakistani Taliban are mostly part of a single linguistic and ethic group in the tribal areas of uneducated people allied with the "seminary student" movement in Afghanistan.  They were allied with the Pakistani Intelligence Services for years, but after U.S. encouraged pressure from the top, the Pakistani military has declared war on them in the past few months and killed about 2,000.

Cole describes the school massacre as a futile effort to exact revenge for their losses, that look to them like a betrayal, during this campaign which is taking a great toll on their movement.

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