The shocking story is here. More than 140 children were just massacred by the so-called “Pakistani Taliban” (the TTP).
[NOTE: These are not the same Taliban that are currently operating in Afghanistan and who once controlled two-thirds of that country, a fact which most American news outlets fail to adequately point out. When I was in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa the Pasthuns I mixed and mingled with had mostly favorable views toward the original Taliban but mostly hostile ones toward the “Pakistani Taliban”; “No one knows who those people are,” they told me. “Many of them are foreigners.” The difference between the two virtually unconnected “Taliban” groups is important.]
This is probably the grisliest tragedy to occur in this decades-long narrative yet, given the victims and their number. These are the unintended consequences of interventionism and centralization. Religious fanaticism will be fingered as the culprit, especially by “Westerners,” but the core issue is rooted not in the teachings of Islam but in the political founding of the Pakistani state, when Muslim League partisans rammed the region into a future, ambiguous “Pakistan” while all of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan’s INCers stayed home in protest–and Pashtunistan wasn’t given a chance at all. Throw in (a) years of struggle between the centralized state and the various provinces (especially in the west), (b) anti-Western revolution across the “Muslim world” in response to decades of Western meddling and intervention, and (c) the militarization of the border areas (thanks to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the America-Saudi-Pakistani response, and the American invasion of Afghanistan), and it’s no wonder that the region is in shambles.
The answer (if indeed there is one, at this point) is certainly not more of the same, which will serve only to perpetuate the morbid cycle.