No hostages: Terrorists wanted to inflict maximum casualties, says DG ISPR

Published: December 16, 2014
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DG ISPR Major General Asim Bajwa addressing a press conference in Peshawar after terrorist attack on Army Public School in Peshawar.

PESHAWAR: The aim of the terrorists was to inflict maximum damage as they did not try to take any hostages, Army spokesperson Major General Asim Bajwa told reporters on Tuesday evening.

Addressing a press conference in Peshawar, Maj Gen Bajwa said that the terrorists entered the school from the lesser guarded rear entrance backside using a ladder. He added that the militants started to fire their weapons indiscriminately as soon as they entered the school auditorium. The children were killed in groups, he said. “This shows that they [terrorists] did not want to take any hostages.”

But Bajwa added that they were trying to uncover the depth of the militant’s plan given that the army had recovered ammunitions and rations from the militants which could have seen them last for days.

Quick army action rescued dozens

The ISPR DG said that within 15 minutes of the attack, a Quick Response Force (QRF) of the military had reached the school and started an operation against terrorists. Bajwa said that a total of 1099 students and staff were registered in the school, and that security forces managed to rescue 960 of them. Of these, 121 had been injured. Total 132 children and nine staffers were killed in the attack, he added.

While sharing the operational details of the terror attack and the subsequent counter-operation, the army spokesperson said that QRF pushed the seven terrorists back and confined them to the administration block.

He added that the Chief of Army Staff Genral Raheel Sharif directed an SSG group and its specialised unit SSG to conduct a rescue operation.

During the rescue operation, one of the attackers was killed at the door of the auditorium, while three others were sniped through the windows of the administration block. The remaining three militants were killed as the security forces stormed the admin block.

The operation left seven SSG personnel and two officers injured.

Bajwa claimed that the militants were in contact with their handlers during the attack and that soon after the QRF had moved in, the army intercepted their communication. “We know who they are and who they were in contact with but details can not be share due to operation reasons.”

“They were aware of locations and they must have carried out the recce of the area. And it is highly possible that someone from inside might have tipped them off,” said Bajwa.

The military spokesperson said that the area has been cleared and school has been handed back to its administration. However, an army cordon around the school was maintained late into the night as the military conducted controlled demolitions of recovered explosives.

Dispelling reports that there were intelligence intercepts warning of possible attacks on government and military installations, Bajwa said there were general threats regarding a terrorist attack on government and army installations since the start of Operation Zar-e-Azb, but the school had not been mentioned specifically.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Pindi Kid
    Dec 17, 2014 - 12:05AM

    Thank you General and the Army. The nation is with you and support an even stronger response to rid us of these barbarians. There should be no mercy shown, the faster and harder they are hit, the better.

    Recommend

  • Realist
    Dec 17, 2014 - 12:27AM

    Words are not enough to soothe our wounds, Pakistani people want to see the end of Taleban and end of terrorism in this country!!

    Recommend

  • Omar Ali Khan
    Dec 17, 2014 - 2:20AM

    We cannot kill our way out of this mess. As a good man once said, the ultimate weaknesses of violence is that it is a descending spiral; returning violence with violence only multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.

    Though it may be distasteful, a negotiated peace with these “animals” is the only real solution. I know it’s hard for most, even impossible for some, to think of such a thing at a time like this. But can anyone honestly think that we can beat this menace through more war and more destruction. It hasn’t worked in the past; why would it work now?

    Let history be our guide and let’s, for our own sake and for the sake of our children, make peace now. An equitable peace. Let that be the measure of our strength as a nation, and let that, instead of more hatred and more death, be the legacy of this immense tragedy.

    Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Dec 17, 2014 - 3:27AM

    Too bad for the country which has the ISI of such a calibre that they were not able to know about the impending terror attack of the Talibans before the zero hour. Did they not expect any realiation from the people whose region is continuously under areal bombardment and long range artillery fire and most recently armoured infantry intrusion displacing over five million peoples( Human right Professor Bari writes) ? The Taliban force has managed to withstand the onslaught of the world armies for over a decade. Is it not fool hardy for the army to confront them in a manner which anatagonise the people of the entire tribal reagion comprising over 70 million? In wars there are no winners but everyone looses.

    Rex Minor

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  • Baba Jee
    Dec 17, 2014 - 5:03AM

    Governement should try to bring the culprits to court and shouldn’t get carried away by the crocodile tears being shed by India and USA. Both have track records of fomenting endless cycle of violence in Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Zack
    Dec 17, 2014 - 8:14AM

    Immediately Announce more provinces, Local body govts and ban all Islamic wings.

    Recommend

  • abreez
    Dec 17, 2014 - 8:40AM

    Enough is enough; someone should take moral responsibility and resign. KP Chief Minister or Federal Interior Minister, their ego clashes are taking the lives of innocent Pakistanis. I must say to the crown prince General Raheel Sharif that if Mars Rover will prove a success then every terrorist attack will take 10,000 innocent lives, therefore understand American double game.

    Recommend

  • B!
    Dec 17, 2014 - 9:13AM

    Man, go into Afghanistan and take the Mullah out. I think the army can easily do it. If persons in disguise can be sent into Kashmir then why not into Afghanistan to take Fazlullah out.

    The longer this mullah is alive the more barbarity he will spread.

    Recommend

  • lkhan
    Dec 17, 2014 - 9:43AM

    Should security of all schools, places of worship, and government buildings not be beefed up while the Zarb-e-Azb operation is ongoing. Surely Pakistan has the manpower and organisational skills to put security plans into action. These barbarians, being cornered, will take any opportunity possible to lash out, regardless of the innocent lives they destroy. Why was the school not protected on all sides? What a horrific consequence. Thank you NS and IK for wanting to negotiate with these savages, losing precious time to put into action the present war against these madmen. It is time to go for ALL the taliban, entrenched in the Punjab and elsewhere, not only in KPK. There should be no place in Pakistan for those who live beyond the rule of law.Recommend

  • Dec 17, 2014 - 9:56AM

    Yesterdays operation was a total failure of Pak Army. Sad but true.Recommend

  • Dr Ghulam Ali
    Dec 17, 2014 - 10:15AM

    How many more angels we need to sacrifice for your “strategic depth”, Mr DG ISPR?Recommend

  • Dec 17, 2014 - 12:20PM

    @Omar Ali Khan:
    Seriously ! it worries me when educated people like you come up with this stuff. You expect peace with people who proudly trespass a school boundary and spray bullets over children while proudly giving a press release that our men have penetrated the school building. Its not a military base, its not a military camp where soldiers are training to kill them. Its a freaking school ! a school ! you know where small kids learn with books and stuff ? You make peace with people with humanly developed mind and thought process. Even animals have a sense of mercy in their instinct. These species you are talking about are going class room to class room asking kids to recite kalma and shooting them at point blank range. I mean common man, why would you even write such a thing here?

    Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Dec 17, 2014 - 12:23PM

    our “strategic assests” are coming back to bite us right where it hurts the most….. our kids

    Recommend

  • Amal
    Dec 17, 2014 - 1:24PM

    The statement doesn’t make sense and is contradictory.How did the militants hope to survive for days without taking hostages?If they were firing indiscriminately,this this was a suicide attack,so why carry unnecessary rations in the first place.

    Recommend

  • kulwant singh
    Dec 17, 2014 - 4:19PM

    @Baba Jee: If you have any proof against India put it before the whole world otherwise do not blame without any basis, and our sympathy is crocodile tears this type of conspiracy theories are not going to serve any purpose.

    Recommend

  • Raheem
    Dec 17, 2014 - 9:30PM

    We cannot kill our way out of this mess. As a good man once said, the ultimate weaknesses of violence is that it is a descending spiral; returning violence with violence only multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
    Though it may be distasteful, a negotiated peace with these “animals” is the only real solution. I know it’s hard for most, even impossible for some, to think of such a thing at a time like this. But can anyone honestly think that we can beat this menace through more war and more destruction. It hasn’t worked in the past; why would it work now?
    Let history be our guide and let’s, for our own sake and for the sake of our children, make peace now. An equitable peace. Let that be the measure of our strength as a nation, and let that, instead of more hatred and more death, be the legacy of this immense tragedy.

    Recommend

  • Dec 17, 2014 - 10:20PM

    @Omar Ali Khan: You are confusing a lot of things. There is something called the state’s monopoly on violence on territory under its political control. This is not a dispute between citizens, or a gang war, or a conflict between sovereign states. The state cannot cede control on coercion within its borders, or it loses all viability by becoming unable to establish justice among citizens. On top of that, terrorism strikes at the very hear of a state’s bargain with its citizens; it introduces uncertainty and arbitrariness where there were supposed to be justice and legal guarantees. So how can we negotiate without giving up on the idea of our country? Violence begets violence? Fine, find a political solution to issues that give rise to violence once you have taken back control, but don’t for a minute think that these pirates are open to peace. They want to tear apart what we have, not help us sew it back.

    In any case, these terrorists are hardly representative of a population group. Are they fighting us for the rights of the subjugated people of Fata? What is their mandate to negotiate and on whose behalf? So any armed band can negotiate with the government of Pakistan for concessions and territory?

    Recommend

  • mashael
    Dec 17, 2014 - 11:24PM

    @Baba Jee: It is because of people like you that we are in a situation we are in. Forever living in denial. One day one Indian arguing with me over Mumbai attacks said- you dont know how bad it feels when some lunatic takes life of so many of your innocent countrymen. If I would speak to him again I am going to tell him- now I know and I have been through the same pain. We must eliminate terrorists and forget about blaming others for our weaknesses. Lets unite and tackle the problem

    Recommend

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