The Taliban in Afghanistan, who have tried to mold themselves into negotiating partners as they continue attacks on civilians and military across the country, issued a statement condemning the Pakistani Taliban attack on a public school that killed 145 — most of those children.
“An attack has occurred on a school in the city of Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan this morning at around 10:00 am local time. Information from the area suggests that so far some 200 people have been killed and wounded in the incident most of whom are said to be children,” spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan expresses its condolences over the incident and mourns with the families of killed children,” he said. “The intentional killing of innocent people, women and children goes against the principles of Islam and every Islamic government and movement must adhere to this fundamental essence.”
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has always condemned the killing of children and innocent people at every juncture. Messages of condolences were also released a while back regarding the blasts at a playground in Yahya Khel district of Paktika province and a mosque in Nangarhar province and those acts were considered against the principles of Islam.”
The Afghan Taliban have short memories, as just a couple of weeks ago they murdered a South African father running an education charity and his two children in Kabul. In a March attack on the Hotel Serena in Kabul, the Taliban murdered two young girls, taking out a 2-year-old boy’s entire family. Marketplace bombs indiscriminately kill young and old. The Afghan Taliban throw acid on girls as they try to go to school, and throw hand grenades into girls’ classrooms. And last month in Farah province an Afghan mother took up arms and took out a number of Taliban after they killed her son, vowing to defend her family from the terrorists to the last bullet.
At the Pentagon yesterday, press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the U.S. wouldn’t “target Taliban simply by virtue of the fact that they’re Taliban.”
“It’s about what you’re doing, and if you’re going to conduct terrorist attacks, it doesn’t matter what I.D. cards you’re carrying. We have the authorities to act in our own self-defense and self-defense of our Afghan partners.”
A reporter from the region asked if the Pentagon sees a difference between Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, noting that “Talibans are Taliban, whether they’re Pakistani or Afghani, because they were all once trained and financed by the Pakistans inside Pakistan.”
“I’m sure you don’t expect me to try to defend the murder and the slaughter of innocent kids at a school. So I’m not even going to try to do that,” Kirby said.
“On your question about the Taliban, and we’ve said this before, we don’t look at them as one homogeneous group. Do they share certain ideologies? Yes. And a radical view of the Muslim faith? Yes. And a belief that terror and murder and violence is a way to pursue those goals? Yes,” he continued.
“But we also recognize that there are sub-groups within those who call themselves Taliban who have different, more specific goals and objectives, whether it’s geographically bound or ideologically bound. So, I am not an expert on all the different groups, but we know some are more directed at Afghanistan. They direct their activities in Afghanistan. Some direct their efforts more inside Pakistan against the Pakistani government and Pakistani people. The point is that they — it’s all terrorism. And it’s all a common threat that we face along that spine between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a border which exists only on the map as you look at it, and not necessarily in the eyes of the people that live there, and certainly not in the eyes of the terrorists that use it as safe haven and sanctuary. Which is why we’ve been for so long pursuing a tripartite relationship, at least from the American perspective, between us, Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
In May, the Obama administration traded five senior Taliban leaders for the exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. That follows long-running attempts from the White House to negotiate with the Taliban before the planned exit of U.S. troops at the end of the year.