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December 17, 2014

Taliban school massacre shocks world community

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Taliban gunmen massacred over a hundred students at a school in the city of Peshawar, Pakistan, in one of the worst terrorist attacks in years.

Members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban entered the military-run school and shot at least 141 people. The Pakistani army responded and by the end of the day, all seven attackers were dead.

The group said the attack was retaliation for a Pakistani military offensive this summer that weakened Taliban operations in the country.

Afghanistan’s Taliban faction voiced disapproval, saying the act was “against Islam.”

Washington Post reporter Tim Craig, who was in Pakistan the day of the attack, compared the shock of the attack to the effects of the 9/11 attacks in the U.S.

“You could just see people staring at a television sort of with that glassy-eyed stare…in shock and disbelief that this was actually happening now in their country,” he said.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said the attack was a “crime against the future of all children and the nation of Pakistan.”

Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Pakistani Taliban in 2012 at the age of 15, said she was heartbroken by the attack. “I, along with millions of others around the world, mourn these children, my brothers and sisters — but we will never be defeated,” she said.


Warm up questions
  1. Where is Pakistan? What countries are its neighbors?
  2. Who are the Taliban?
  3. What is the definition of a terrorist attack? The 9/11 attack on America is called a terrorist act. What about the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School or the kidnapping of the 200 Nigerian school girls, are they considered acts of terror too? Why or why not?
Critical thinking questions
  1. The Pakistani Taliban said the attack was revenge for a Pakistani military offensive against them. The Taliban was also responsible for the attempted murder of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head on her school bus. Why do you think the Taliban choses to attack schools and other symbols of education? What might that tell you about their goals?
  2. What effect do you think the school massacre will have on the relationship between the Pakistan and the Taliban?
  3. The Taliban is an extremist Islamic group whose actions have horrified other Muslims around the world. What would you say to someone who blamed all Muslims for Taliban crimes? Explain your answers.
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