A Senseless Tragedy
The entire nation is aggrieved at the reprehensible tragedy in Peshawar, which has cost the lives of at least nine people, and irreparably damaged so many more. Five burqa-clad attackers reportedly entered the Agricultural Directorate on an auto-rickshaw, and wrecked havoc in the university and targeted the hostel students, until they were successfully countered by the police and armed forces.
Much praise has been attributed to the security forces, which took quick action and dealt with the terrorists before the incident could become widely catastrophic. It is true that the response of the security forces was that of timely, holistic and coordinated manner, that saved many lives. However, the fact that this incident happened demands a large amount of diligence and responsibility which is not being fulfilled.
The fact that the attackers were Afghan and were in contact with TTP reveals the TTP have strong enough links in Pakistan to launch an attack here. This requires more action not just from Pakistan but should be a strong heads-up to the US and to Afghanistan, whose President just welcomed cooperation talks with Pakistan, to take seriously the issue of terrorism being facilitated by Afghan terrorists. Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations, Major Gen Asif Ghafoor has also lent credit to this fact by declaring that Afghan soil was used for terrorist attack in Peshawar and there was evidence of TTP sanctuaries in Afghanistan.
In a statement, US State Department Spokesperson, Heather Nauert, strongly condemned the terrorist attack on the Peshawar Agriculture Training Institute. However, what should be taken note of and paid due seriousness by the US is the relevance of the TTP in Afghanistan, who is said to control nearly 40% of areas in Afghanistan, and the danger it poses to the world and especially Pakistan. With this attack fresh in everyone’s minds, it is hoped that the Mattel and Dunford visit will evoke this important point of Afghan influence on terrorism in Pakistan, and the role the international community can play, to shift the narrative from “Pakistan not doing enough” to one of countering TTP power in Afghanistan.
While this has been the first such attack in some time, the past quiet cannot be a reason to think this failure in security less devastating than it is. The army, as well as PTI, should not sit easy or attempt to profit from the good service of security forces to gain political points, but should investigate deeper on why this incident was allowed to happen in the first place.