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Fear, anger in Pakistan after girls’ school bombed on Afghan border

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Shillong, May 9: Suspected militants blew up a girls’ school in north-western Pakistan, stoking fresh fears about the safety of female students whose education has been targeted by Islamists for years.

The compound of the privately-owned school was partially damaged when the bomb went off during the night on Wednesday in the town of North Waziristan near the Afghan border, local police official Amjad Suhail said.

No one was killed or wounded.

The mountainous town of North Waziristan has long served as headquarters for Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda and its affiliated Haqqani network of the Afghan Taliban. The Pakistani military forced out the Haqqani network from its territory through a series of offensives that began in 2014.

The Pakistani Taliban, a group that follows the same hardline version of Islam as their Afghan counterparts but have a different organisation, have bombed girls’ schools before.

Hundreds of schools were bombed in Waziristan and Swat, the hometown of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, between 2007 and 2009 when the Pakistani Taliban ruled these regions.

A Taliban militant climbed on top of Yousafzai’s school bus and shot her in the head in 2012 when she was 15 for openly opposing the Taliban’s restrictions on girls’ education.

The latest incident in North Waziristan was a rare incident of targeting girls’ school after a year. “It has increased fears,” former local member of parliament Ali Wazir said.

The Pakistan Taliban, who have killed around 80,000 people in years of violence, have been seeking a resurgence since Kabul fell to their Afghan counterparts in 2021. (IANS)

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