The horrific attack that left 132 schoolchildren dead at the hands of Muslim extremists has strongly affected Pakistan — even though the country has witnessed numerous Taliban atrocities, The New York Times
This massacre, so methodical and so cruel, has virtually left the country paralyzed.
To get an idea of how cold and methodical it was, the Times said, consider this conversation among militants that was intercepted by the Pakistan military as Tuesday's attack was underway:
"We have killed all of the children in the auditorium," one of the nine terrorists told his commander. "What do we do now?"
"Wait for the army to arrive," was the response. "Kill them, then blow yourself up."
The Pakistani Taliban attackers targeted the Army Public School in Peshawar because the pupils were mostly children of army officers and the principal was the wife of a retired colonel. The Taliban said the attack was in retaliation for an army offensive in North Waziristan province, the Times reported.
The streets of Peshawar have since been clogged with funeral processions. The Times reported that Pakistan "seemed to be trapped between grief, anger and frustration, for once overcoming their divisions to unite in pain."
Describing the horrific aftermath of the attack, the Times reported that the blood of the children was smeared on the walls, pooled in the hallways, and drenched abandoned clothing.
"The smell of explosives and charred flesh filled the air," the paper said.
The majority of bodies — over 100 — were found in the school's assembly hall. The children had been "singled out, one by one, and shot in the head," according to the Times.
Teachers were executed trying to protect their students. A total 148 people died in the eight-hour assault.
When the army arrived, the terrorists retreated to an administrative building before exploding their suicide belts.
There were recriminations that Taliban threats against the school were not taken seriously, the Times reported.
There is a murky relationship between Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency and Islamist militants. ISI has supported Islamist groups that attack India and keep Afghanistan unbalanced.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif now says that policy is over. The Intelligence service has propped-up the Afghan Taliban and, in retaliation, the regime in Afghanistan has been providing refuge for Pakistani Taliban
leaders, the Times reported.
According to journalist Carlotta Gall
, who covered the war in Afghanistan for the Times, "Pakistan, not Afghanistan, has been the true enemy" of the United States.
She suspected that the Pakistani intelligence protected Osama bin Laden
, reporting that while "one part of the ISI was engaged in hunting down militants, another part continued to work with them."
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