Agence France-Presse

More than 140 people, mostly children, killed in Pakistan school attack (LIVE BLOG)

Updated:
Pakistani men carry an injured student to a hospital following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on Dec. 16, 2014.
Credit: A Majeed


GLOBALPOST LIVE BLOG: PAKISTAN SCHOOL ATTACK

UPDATE: 12/16/14 4:00 PM ET

Signing off

This live blog is now closed.

UPDATE: 12/16/14 3:58 PM ET

Key areas of conflict in Pakistan

UPDATE: 12/16/14 3:12 PM ET

'I saw death so close': student recalls Pakistan school carnage

Agence France-Presse — A teenage survivor of Tuesday's Taliban attack on a Pakistan school described how he played dead after being shot in both legs by insurgents hunting down students to kill.

Militants rampaged through an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar and killed at least 141 people, almost all of them children, in the bloodiest ever terror attack in Pakistan.

Speaking from his bed in the trauma ward of the city's Lady Reading Hospital, Shahrukh Khan, 16, said he and his classmates were in a careers guidance session in the school auditorium when four gunmen wearing paramilitary uniforms burst in. "Someone screamed at us to get down and hide below the desks," he said, adding that the gunmen shouted "Allahu akbar" (God is greatest) before opening fire.

"Then one of them shouted: 'There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them'," Khan told AFP. "I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches." Khan said he felt searing pain as he was shot in both his legs just below the knee.

He decided to play dead, adding: "I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn't scream. "The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again. "My body was shivering. I saw death so close and I will never forget the black boots approaching me — I felt as though it was death that was approaching me."

UPDATE: 12/16/14 2:20 PM ET

#IndiaWithPakistan

A heartwarming show of solidarity on Twitter as people began expressing their condolences using the #IndiaWithPakistan hashtag:

UPDATE: 12/16/14 1:29 PM ET

3 reasons why the Pakistani Taliban attacked the school in Peshawar

GlobalPost's Timothy McGrath writes:

A group of militants from the Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, stormed the Army Public School in the city of Peshawar today, killing 141 people, most of them children. There are many questions to be answered, and perhaps the most obvious one is: Why target a school full of children? It's too early to fully understand the reasoning behind the attacks, but here are at least 3 important things that help explain why the group targeted this particular school at this time.

Read McGrath's piece here.

UPDATE: 12/16/14 12:09 PM ET

The death toll of school assault is now 141

Agence France-Presse — The death toll in the Taliban assault Tuesday on a school in northwest Pakistan has reached 141, the army said, making it the country's deadliest ever terror attack. Chief military spokesman General Asim Bajwa said 132 students and nine staff were killed in the eight-hour onslaught at the army-run school in the city of Peshawar.

UPDATE: 12/16/14 11:06 AM ET

On the dangers of going to school in Pakistan

This piece on Scroll.in, a political and cultural news outlet based in India, explains the rampant attacks on schools in Pakistan.

This pain is not new to parents of school-going children in Pakistan though. A report by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, at the University of Maryland, concluded that there had been more attacks on educational institutions in Pakistan in 2012 than in the next four [most dangerous] countries [Nigeria, Afghanistan, Turkey and Thailand] combined. 

Read the full piece here.

UPDATE: 12/16/14 10:38 AM ET

World leaders' reactions

US President Barack Obama issued a statement condemning the attack.

"By targeting students and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity," Obama said in the statement released by the White House.

View the full statement here:

"The news of the brazen murder of more than 120 innocent students in Peshawar is devastating," US Secretary of State John Kerry was quoted as saying by Reuters. "This morning, wherever you live, wherever you are, those are our children and this is the world's loss."

And this is from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, also quoted by Reuters: "No cause can justify such brutality. No grievance can excuse such horror. Getting an education is every child’s right. Going to school should not have to be an act of bravery."

UPDATE: 12/16/14 10:21 AM ET

A good resource to keep up with the latest developments

Buzzfeed investigative reporter Azmat Khan has compiled a great list of people to follow to keep up with the news on the attack. Check it out here.

UPDATE: 12/16/14 9:45 AM ET

The siege has come to an end

UPDATE: 12/16/14 9:26 AM ET

Who are the Pakistani Taliban?

The Pakistani Taliban or Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for today's horrific attack. GlobalPost's Jean MacKenzie wrote a detailed piece about the militant group last year:

The origins of the Pakistani Taliban are closely tied to their Afghan brothers. During the anti-Soviet jihad, fighters from Pakistan spilled across the border to help drive out the foreigners, and history repeated itself following the US-led invasion of 2001.

By 2002 there were enough militants in Pakistan's border areas that the government felt compelled to try and establish some form of control, which only forced the fighters to coalesce.

"Supporters of the Afghan Taliban in the tribal areas transitioned into a mainstream Taliban force of their own as a reaction to the Pakistani army's incursion into the tribal areas, which began in 2002, to hunt down militants," the Council on Foreign Relations writes.

UPDATE: 12/16/14 9:14 AM ET

The aftermath of the deadly attack

UPDATE: 12/16/14 9:00 AM ET

Tragedy strikes Peshawar school

Reuters — At least 126 people, most of them children, were killed on Tuesday when Taliban gunmen stormed a school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, taking hundreds of students hostage in the bloodiest insurgent attack in the country in years.

A local hospital said the dead and wounded it had seen were aged between 10 and 20 years old. The hardline Islamist Taliban movement immediately claimed responsibility.

"We selected the army's school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females," said Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani. "We want them to feel the pain."

It was not clear whether some or all of the children were killed by gunmen, suicide bombs or in the ensuing battle with Pakistani security forces trying to gain control of the building.

 

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