Dangerous dynamic

The terrorist attack on a university in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is a telling echo of the Peshawar school massacre a year ago


A Girl prays for the victims of a militant attack on the Bacha Khan University, during a candle light vigil in Peshawar on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters
A Girl prays for the victims of a militant attack on the Bacha Khan University, during a candle light vigil in Peshawar on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

The militant attack on a university in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is a telling echo of the attack on a school in the province’s capital a little over a year ago by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants.

At the time, the Peshawar attack had goaded Islamabad and the generals into a pushback against the TTP. But a destructive dynamic has developed since.

There is considerable evidence of TTP and other militants crossing into Afghanistan to escape the Pakistani army’s push. And Islamabad’s patronage for the Taliban has found an echo, ironically, in its accusations that Kabul is now backing anti-Pakistan militants.

Whether the TTP is indeed responsible for this latest attack or not, the episode is unlikely to do much for Islamabad-Kabul cooperation—a slim hope in any case, given the former’s policies. In such an atmosphere, it’s difficult to see much success at the peace talks in February.