Mattani attack: Taliban target children

Published: September 13, 2011
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Four pupils, driver killed; 
18 wounded in attack on school bus near Peshawar. PHOTO: REUTERS

Four pupils, driver killed; 18 wounded in attack on school bus near Peshawar. PHOTO: REUTERS

Four pupils, driver killed; 
18 wounded in attack on school bus near Peshawar. PHOTO: REUTERS Gunmen ambush school bus in Matani area. Driver killed, five children also injured. PHOTO: AFP
PESHAWAR: 

Taliban insurgents ambushed a school bus on Tuesday, killing four pupils and the driver in a hail of bullets and rocket fire in Peshawar’s suburban Mattani area. Another 18 people, including four children, two of them seven-year-old girls, were also wounded in the attack.

The children studied at Khyber Model School Zangli, an elite English-language school in the Badabher area. The Taliban are opposed to Western-imported, education and have destroyed hundreds of schools in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and adjoining tribal regions.

Police said the bus was taking children home in the Kalakhel area at the end of the school day.

“The gunmen were waiting for the bus in fields near the Ghazi Abad area on Mattani bypass road and attacked when it came close. They fired a rocket and then fired bullets on the van,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Sajjad Khan told The Express Tribune. He confirmed that four schoolchildren and the driver were killed.

Sajjad blamed the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for the attack. The Kalakhel tribesmen have sided with the government and formed a tribal militia (Lashkar) to supplement the government’s fight against militancy.

Sajjad was right. Later in the evening TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility for the attack, saying their purpose “was to punish the Kakakhel tribe who formed a lashkar against us”.

“The Kalakhels were warned but they did not disband the lashkar, and we again warn all other lashkars that they will meet the same fate for opposing the Taliban at America’s behest,” he added.

Interestingly, Kalakhel tribesmen denied forming any lashkar against the militants. “We don’t have a lashkar. But yes, we have a peace committee which is responsible for the security of coalmines in the Kalakhel area. This committee is not new, it was formed in 2001,” Arshad Khan, a local told The Express Tribune.

Khan admitted the peace committee was formed at the instigation of local political authorities but would not agree that the authorities had closed down the coalmines to force local tribesmen to form an anti-Taliban lashkar.

Outside Peshawar’s main Lady Reading Hospital, Jahandar Shah, whose seven-year-old son Jamal died, sobbed uncontrollably and smothered his forehead in kisses as he tried to pull his blood-stained body from a stretcher onto his lap.

He blamed the government and the Taliban, for his son’s death, screaming: “What was the fault of this innocent child? Why did you kill him?”

Shoaib Khan, a 15-year-old student wounded in the attack, said gunmen first opened fire on one side of the road, then waited for pupils to start fleeing before widening the attack. “I started bringing kids out of the bus when the gunmen began firing from the other flank as well,” he said. “Then I was also injured and fell unconscious. I don’t know what happened next.”

Habib Khattak, a doctor at LRH, said 18 wounded were admitted after the attack, 12 of them children and the others teachers and passers-by.

(Read: You can blow up their schools, but you can’t stop their quest for knowledge)

Teachers at the Khyber Model School Zangli said they had taken measures to avoid the wrath of the militants.

“We received no threatening letter,” Vice Principal Salman Ahmed told AFP. “We stopped singing classes and the school band playing music during the morning assembly because we know militants are active in the area.”

(With additional input from AFP)

Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (69)

  • Aryabhat
    Sep 13, 2011 - 2:19PM

    I am sure someone will say “No Muslim can do this. It is a Hindu-Jew-Christian consipracy through CIA, RAW and Mussad” !!!

    Even GOD helps only those who help themselves!

    When will Paksitan help itself?

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  • Maryam
    Sep 13, 2011 - 2:27PM

    Is there anyone out there to stop these barbarians!

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  • syed Imran
    Sep 13, 2011 - 2:45PM

    May Allah Punish the perpetrators of this henious crime, heartless barbarians with no respect to the sayings of Quran and the Prophet (SAW)

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  • Yasir Mehmood
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:04PM

    Q.: Will Imran Khan and Mullah politicians condemn this?
    Ans: No.

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  • Osama
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:06PM

    This is sick and disgusting. The donkey and mule running this country will only condemn and shed crocodile tears..

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  • umair
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:10PM

    School children?? what has this nation come to?? we prey on women, minorities and now CHILDREN too?? May God have mercy on us fake muslims.. my deepest condolences for the families who lost their loved ones.. May Allah give you strength.. and yes its not Mossad or RAW it is our own doing

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  • Reality bites
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:21PM

    Shame, Shame !! That’s why the world hate you people.

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  • small indian town mom
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:23PM

    its so unhuman… don’t they have any brain left to kill small innocent children

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  • Rohit
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:24PM

    Killing children is act of animal & barbarian. Big revolution is in waiting state in Pakistan. Pakistanis are not getting right platform to move. But it will burst soon. Terrorists Beware.Recommend

  • syed Imran
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:46PM

    Pakistan clergy including the religious parties must speak out against this barbarism.

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  • Sep 13, 2011 - 3:53PM

    Targets of Operation Gladio included trains, subways, and schools. Also targeted were areas in which large masses of the public could be found, and this included schools and school buses filled with children. It is always important for the false-flaggers to target children, as the deaths of innocent children, and photos of dead children, bring about the highest level of outrage from the public. Pictures and videotape of dead children sees the public demanding a solution to a problem that was manufactured to begin with.

    Seethe pattern?

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  • Noise
    Sep 13, 2011 - 4:02PM

    Hello? ISI? are you aware of this?

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  • Shafaaqat
    Sep 13, 2011 - 4:16PM

    We are bound to suffer if we keep electing these dogs in the human disguise. I just can’t recall even a single decision taken to protect our blood for the last ten years. Things won’t change unless we show some wisdom. We got to stand against these soldout so called leaders and fight for our basic rights. If they can’t protect our children, we don’t need them. Its very painful to see young generation growing under this continues threat of being shot dead or bomb blasts.

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  • Aamir
    Sep 13, 2011 - 4:24PM

    We have to revisit our security apparatus which is outdated and disorganized. We need scientific approach to deal with crimes. We have only reactive force no proactive measures.

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  • vasan
    Sep 13, 2011 - 4:26PM

    Gosh: Barbarians have started bombing even school buses. Pakistan! Wake up please and smell the coffee. Why cant somebody in Pakistan redirect all their bravado towards India against these terrorists. Or are all these empty words.

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  • kazi jawed akhter
    Sep 13, 2011 - 4:27PM

    Bulleh shah said ,”Meri bukal day which chore”.There is some one within us who is supporting all this killing.We can say it cannot be muslim.But they are also musims like Kharjees.All relegious parties I repeat al relegious parties should collectively condemn such acts.There must be nobody in Pakistan to justify such killings.Alas it happens so.Are we waiting for some Ataturk?

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  • THE
    Sep 13, 2011 - 4:28PM

    Why does everybody and their dog want a condemnation from the mullahs or Imran Khan? Have they asked for these school children to be killed? It’s everyone’s responsiblity to condemn such acts. We can’t progress unless we take matters into our own hands and come out on the streets against these barbaric criminals or are you still gona wait for someone’s condemnation?

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  • SK
    Sep 13, 2011 - 4:31PM

    We are killing our future for what? no one knows

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  • Sep 13, 2011 - 4:54PM

    @Aryabhat: Well said Aryabhat. We pray PM Gillani reads this and acts. Have a nice day.

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  • Hassan
    Sep 13, 2011 - 4:54PM

    @ Yasir Mahmood, i think you should focus on your condemnation and not worry about Imran Khan’s he doesnt need a certificate of authentic condemnation from you or anyone else. His views on the issue are very clear for those who want to understand the nature of the conflict and not use this sad occasion to exploit the feelings of Pakistanis.

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  • faraz
    Sep 13, 2011 - 5:06PM

    @Moise

    And what about the hundreds of attacks on markets, mosques, imam barhags and schools that resulted in thousands of deaths? And why do Taliban own responsibility for these attacks?

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  • Chaudhry Allah Daad
    Sep 13, 2011 - 5:10PM

    What else we can expect from these barbarians who send their own children on suicide missions. They have no regard for human lives.

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  • aayush
    Sep 13, 2011 - 5:11PM

    this is the height of barbarism. how can some one think of attacking the children. just look at the girl in the pic she looks so cute and innocent, she might not even know why was she attacked.

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  • Ashraf
    Sep 13, 2011 - 5:55PM

    Just sad. The answer to this problem is a little less religion and a little more of humanity.

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  • Mani
    Sep 13, 2011 - 6:08PM

    Noone should lose a child and that too to a hail of bullets.

    I cannot imagine the hurt the affected parents must be going through. How long before we stand up as a nation and say, NO MORE!

    Have we become so hard boiled that nothing effects us anymore?

    Have we as a nation just lost it? I would think so. Noone has the guts to stop these barbarians. How can the government just sleep through all of this nonsense.

    We seriously need to sit up and take notice!

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  • Z. Salim
    Sep 13, 2011 - 6:09PM

    It is really sad to hear that the children are being targeted by militants. There is no good terrorists and bad terrorists. All terrorists are against humanity. Pakistan should stop supporting group like Haqqani Taliban, JUD, Lashkar-e-toiba, JKLF etc. etc.

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  • Tahir
    Sep 13, 2011 - 6:31PM

    @Yasir, Imran Khan always condemns terrorist attacks, your just too ignorant to not see it.

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  • Rashid
    Sep 13, 2011 - 6:53PM

    @Ashraf, I fail to understand how you blame religion for this. I mean, come on man! Even the most wrongest interpretation of religion would not yield the allowance of killing innocent children. Anyhow, these people are simply terrorists, and they are absolutely out of their mind.

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  • A J Khan
    Sep 13, 2011 - 7:37PM

    May God help us. These people are worst form of misguided men. One thing is for sure, They have lost the game and have resorted to most abnoxious acts.

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  • Mubarik
    Sep 13, 2011 - 7:42PM

    “Tehreeke Zalmane Islami” of “Amirul Jahleen” Mullah Umar in action. There is lots of “Islam and Islami” in Pakistan but very few Muslims left. May God have mercy on us mortals.

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  • shah
    Sep 13, 2011 - 7:45PM

    plz stop killing of innocent people , why taliban is doing this ?

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  • Reem
    Sep 13, 2011 - 7:51PM

    I’d like to hear how Imran Khan defends this act….I think he’s start by blaming it on drones & Zardari but will avoid clearly condemning these terrorists. Its called killing 3 birds with one stone:
    1.Gain popularity by cashing on people’s frustration by presenting simple solutions like blaming everything on America & Zardari
    2. Avoid condemning Taliban so that the right-wingers (who happens to be his close allies) are not offended
    3. Taliban won’t attack him if he can somehow dodge clearly condemning them

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  • Crimson Blue
    Sep 13, 2011 - 8:21PM

    and most say drones are the problem…

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  • AG
    Sep 13, 2011 - 8:47PM

    I wish there was some way to exterminate these killers, if this is what you call Islam than you can have it….Recommend

  • Ali S
    Sep 13, 2011 - 11:11PM

    Pakistan, you’ll find your worst enemy in a mirror. What have come to as a society?

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  • Incredible
    Sep 13, 2011 - 11:22PM

    From a land of pure to a land of terrorists. This is evolution. Well done.

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  • Hassan Naqvi
    Sep 14, 2011 - 12:00AM

    Another shameful act of Talibans, I think they’re worst than Jews.

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  • lehumanist
    Sep 14, 2011 - 12:04AM

    Talibans are animals. savages nothing more nothing less. They should be eliminated, period. Anybody who finds any third party reason such as drone attacks or America is standing with savages. There is no excuse whatsoever for this cruelty and savagery. Recommend

  • Sep 14, 2011 - 12:30AM

    What kind of people would attack school children? These are ruthless barbarians who have no regard for human lives. Aren’t these the same people who earlier kidnapped young boys while they were celebrating eid and enjoying the day together!

    Children are the future of any nation, and these people who call themselves Taliban (students) kill to destroy the future of Pakistan. Is not their ideology to keep the coming generations illiterate so they do not question their evil agenda? The brand Taliban has been tried and tested and they have failed miserably. They were rejected by the people of Afghanistan and now by the people of Pakistan. Are they not desperate, striking innocent school children who are just dreaming of a bright and better future? These are not Taliban (students). They are illiterate goons who are out to destroy anything that is dear to the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and what can be dearer than their children?

    We have to keep hitting them from all sides and make sure that they are not capable of hurting our children…our future! We must stand united against them, their violence, and their hate — and defeat them.

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  • Cautious
    Sep 14, 2011 - 12:41AM

    @Hassan Naqvi

    Another shameful act of Talibans, I think they’re worst than Jews.
    No doubt you would be first in line to shout discrimination if someone made a similar comment about Muslims. What does religion have to do with anything? You have access to the internet – suggest you look up the word Xenophobe.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Sep 14, 2011 - 3:48AM

    God have mercy on my motherland.

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  • Spud
    Sep 14, 2011 - 4:19AM

    @Aryabhat: How right you are. Contrary to what anyone says Islam is not a religion of peace. Just look around in Syria the Government is killing its citizens, women kept at home and pregnant and elswhere Sunnis kill Shias, Ahamadiyas etc. Killing children is meant to keep them home and illiterate. The Taliban does not worry if the country remains poor so long as it remains strongly Islamist. All Pakistanis should rise and rid all this 7th century thinking wich still prevails in the minds of the Taliban and their fellow travellers.

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  • Spud
    Sep 14, 2011 - 4:26AM

    @Shafaaqat: Dogs like all animals do not attack unless attacked. Dogs are loyal and loving. I know you are a Muslim who hate dogs but do not comapre these Taliban with any animal. Taliban bring shame on us all by behaving in heartless evil manner. Let us rid of them.
    May the parents of the children kileed and hurt feel comforted by our wishes of sympathy.

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  • Incredible
    Sep 14, 2011 - 6:07AM

    It is about time that Pakistan is bought forward at the UN.
    ICC should also look into this matter.

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  • lehumanist
    Sep 14, 2011 - 6:25AM

    In my above comment I forgot to finish my thoughts due to my anger, what I meant to say was as follows;
    “Anybody who finds any third party reason such as drone attacks or American policy is standing with these savages. Imran Khan learned nothing in Oxford, He just kept a family tradition to earn a degree from Oxford and hang it in his living room. Do a protest against Talibans’ atrocities too while you condemn drone attacks. It doesn’t give Taliban any right to kill innocent children and destroy girls’ school and murder Pakistani civilians while fighting this so-called jihad against US. There will be no more Pakistani left to get beheaded or bombed to live in that Islamic kingdom they are fighting for. Talibans are the worst thing that exist on the face of the planet.A pure evil in its more concentrated form and those who find excuses for these inhuman acts are equally responsible for these atrocities.

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  • Karachi Citizen
    Sep 14, 2011 - 7:01AM

    Very painful news,attack on innocent kids……..target killing and floods in Sindh,dengue virus in Punjab,floods and target killing in Balochistan, drone attacks and terrorist attacks in KP…………..Pakistan is in very bad situation .Allah please save our country from natural disasters and terrorists……….!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Jan
    Sep 14, 2011 - 7:23AM

    All sane Pakistanis condemn this and the killing of hundreds of innocent people (including women and children) in the NATO bombing (including drone attacks).

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  • plogan
    Sep 14, 2011 - 8:03AM

    My God!? What’s wrong with these people?

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  • Sep 14, 2011 - 8:05AM

    @faraz:
    Operation Gladio (1946-1990) – Operation Gladio was the name of a series of hundreds of bombings carried out by Western Intelligence Agencies; such as the CIA and MI6. NATO was itself involved in the bombings carried out in Western Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia. These attacks were then blamed on the Communists and the radical left.

    This is just the prominent one. There have been similar bombings in South America, South-East Asia, Middle East and Europe. You can learn a lot from history and observe the patterns if you can see behind the facade.

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  • Najeeb
    Sep 14, 2011 - 9:14AM

    i have no words to right here, believe me. I am so very sad that how can any1 target innocent children .HOWWWWWWWWWW?
    OH MY GOD how can we safe our nation , our country from these evil acts .

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  • rehmat
    Sep 14, 2011 - 9:27AM

    Imran Khan says that the Taliban are really just disillusioned tribal people who are avenging the drones. But in this case their spokesman has made it clear. They are opposing a particular tribe because it is resisting Taliban – not because of drones or not because they are resisting foreign occupation.. Does he still feel hat discussion is the way to deal with these beasts who would not hesitate to kill school kids?

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  • Sep 14, 2011 - 9:31AM

    its not from Taliban, our govt is involved in this job, its v shameful for us

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  • kazi jawed akhter
    Sep 14, 2011 - 10:20AM

    The so called taliban are are now on run and are retreating that is why they have resorted to targeting softest targets like children.They are not taliban(the seekers of knowledge),rather they are the offsprings of halakoo and Changeze Khan more precisely, the modren farhones who was kill
    ing children of bani israel.
    This is high time for all religious parties and ulema e karam that they should come out condemning such attacks instead of praising /glorifying them. Media must boycott their news.Must not not put on air any such thing which highlightens their image.By such ways they will be isolated along with their financers,patrons and wellwishers both foreign and locals and this might bring relief to the helpless poor and innocents citizens of Pakistan.We all must pray for peace all the time till we get rid of this trouble.

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  • Ali
    Sep 14, 2011 - 10:25AM

    Will you one more time, put blame on MQM?

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  • kamran
    Sep 14, 2011 - 10:43AM

    Why government take pain to stop this becasue its our children not there whenever government admit all children are like ballawal bhutta or hamza sharif then there will be no killingRecommend

  • Proud Pakistani
    Sep 14, 2011 - 10:49AM

    How do they call themself as TALIBAN OF ISLAM, it is really sickning & disgusting.
    This is the real face of this terrorists(MUNAFIQ) nothing to do with ISLAM

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  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Sep 14, 2011 - 10:59AM

    Condemning the BEEASTS is not the right way of handing this ruthless killings. Our security apparatus needs to get their act together and get rid of these barbarians

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  • Mannaman
    Sep 14, 2011 - 11:13AM

    Silence of the lamb? It is the people who are suffering, why don’t they stand up and bash and even kill taliban and their supporters, followers and sympathizers. Are not we allowed to kill beasts when attacked by law ?

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  • ali
    Sep 14, 2011 - 11:22AM

    I have never seen ET report the killing of innocent children in Waziristan by drone strikes with the same importance!
    Are those children any less human???

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  • Hassan
    Sep 14, 2011 - 12:16PM

    @ Reem, a truly sick mind can use this occasion to start an irrelevant debate that satiates their desire to put the blame of this attack on probably the only politician who understands this conflict.

    Imran Khan has never defended terrorism he has tried to understand the causes so as to propose a solution, if an infantile mind can not distinguish between the two approaches they need to grow up before commenting on public forums.

    Like i said before he doesnt need a ISO Certified Condemnation to satisfy a nobody like you he says and does things according to his conscience and so far it has only benefitted Pakistan. You should condemn the attack on your own account dont worry what others are doing.

    So now the logic is that for anyone to prove that they are against terrorism and terrorists they must be killed by them first truly an original idea and a sick one to boot.

    As for solutions i was always told the best ones are simple, lets hear your complex algorithm which solves the menace of terrorism??

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  • Now innocent kids
    Sep 14, 2011 - 1:09PM

    Shame on Talibans… these are innocent kids…. what kind of sick version of Islam are they practising.. no where in Islam does it call for such attacks… were these kids trying to attack you Taliban – for which you’re defending yourself.. I think not… we need better border control.. Afghanistan is not a friend until they can stop Taliban from these atrocities happening.. and Pakistan needs to wake up and heighten security in these areas

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  • Sep 14, 2011 - 1:58PM

    @ali:
    You’ve never seen any evidence of it happening either. Funny how it happens so much yet there isn’t any. Yet, in this instance there’s no shortage of evidence that they were harmed, just like every single time similar things actually happen caused by the same groups. Makes it look like the location of your head implies you’re a natural, talented contortionist and shouldn’t let the talent go to waste making comments online.

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  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Sep 14, 2011 - 3:17PM

    According to the news this barbarian act was committed by TTP. This means they are home grown terrorists whom many legislators both of upper and lower houses support though some openly and some as sleeping partners. Khalil Gibran was right when he lamented way back in 1930s “Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion”. We have to remove this virus from our society by hook or by crook.

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  • DomainDiva
    Sep 14, 2011 - 4:44PM

    The taliban are nothing more than serial killers using religion to excuse and satisfy their lust for blood and death. It is good to see the comments here from other Muslims condemning this act by these monsters.

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  • Mirza
    Sep 14, 2011 - 7:37PM

    Who else could target only little kids, except the religious fanatic terrorists? When one thinks that they have touched the lowest in humanity, they go even lower! Shame on the people who still make excuses for them.

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  • Sundas Jameel
    Sep 15, 2011 - 7:06PM

    The Taliban’s latest onslaught on the school bus is not the first violent act against the pro-government militias. In the last two months, the TTP bombed two public transport Kalakhel-bound buses in two separate attacks in Mattani in which 12 residents of Kalakhel were killed. Unfortunately, the Taliban have targeted innocent children this time, which is another example of their savagery. There have been many other examples of them targeting women and the elderly in the past. Tuesday’s killings have proved that children, too, are no exception for them. They have killed hundreds of people irrespective of their gender and age and bombed hundreds of schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas. However, the ferocity with which they have deliberately killed the children of the Kalakhel tribe in an attempt to stop their elders from supporting the government in its fight against the TTP is unforgivable. Leaving unarmed civilians, including children, women and the elderly unharmed is a general guideline in wars. Our religion also teaches the same rule. However, the attack on the Khyber Model School’s bus has reinforced the argument that the terrorists believe in no religious or moral values. They are barbaric and anything can be expected from them. Civilians, even the weak and vulnerable, are not safe from them. They can cross any limits to achieve their nefarious objectives. The ruthless killing of children calls for a strong response from the government. The Taliban have to be crushed and for that purpose all resources should be concentrated and utilized to clear our soil of the menace of terrorism once and for all. Government has waged a continuous war against these brutal and pledged to fight out until extremism is defeated. Now, people of Pakistan and opposition parties should realize the threat and stop tickling the situation. It is time to fight out extremism standing united with Government.

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  • maestro
    Sep 16, 2011 - 4:04PM

    @Ashraf:
    Correction – a LOT less religion and LOT more humanity! We have seen what these illiterate barbarians view of religion has done to this country. Enough with this an absurd experiment, separate religion from state, and declare Pakistan a secular state which is what the founding father had planned it to be! Oooo yes i have committed blasphemy but its the truth. 24 hrs everyone screams Islam Islam while doing the most despicable things IN the name of Islam. No amount of military force will change this mindset. Only proper education in languages, sciences, IT etc., not madrassah “education” will begin to bring about a change in this warped society! Recommend

  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Sep 17, 2011 - 2:25PM

    @maestro:
    You are 100% correct

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