Suspected militants bomb a girl’s school overnight in northwest Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, 17 May (AP) — Suspected militants bombed a girl’s school in a former Pakistani Taliban stronghold, destroying the structure, police said Friday, although no one was hurt in the overnight attack.

The attack happened in South Waziristan, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. It was the second one this month after another school was badly damaged in the region, local police official Safdar Khan said.

Nobody immediately claimed responsibility, but the suspicion is likely to fall on Islamic militants and specifically the Pakistani Taliban, who had previously targeted girl’s schools in the province, saying that women should not be educated.

Until years ago, Pakistan’s northwest witnessed multiple attacks on girl’s schools, especially in the Swat Valley where the Pakistani Taliban long controlled the former tribal regions.

In 2012, insurgents attacked Malala Yousafzai, a teenage student and advocate for female education. She later went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, were evicted from Swat and other regions in recent years. The TTP are a separate group but a close ally of the Afghan Taliban, who seized power over Afghanistan in 2021. The Taliban takeover in neighboring Afghanistan has emboldened the Pakistani Taliban.