The Pakistani Army claims they killed at least 77 Taliban members, just days after the terrorist group murdered over 130 children at a military school in Peshawar. These attacks occurred late Thursday night into Friday.
The army killed 32 jihadists in the Khyber region, which borders Peshawar. Army officials said they caught the Taliban fighters as they headed to the Afghanistan border. The Taliban are prominent in Khyber and consistently face off against the army. Pakistani citizens consider these Taliban members “‘bad Taliban’ since they are hostile to the army,” which they see as overly friendly to the West and the United States. They consider the other militants the “good Taliban” because they are “cooperative regarding Pakistani aims and interests in projecting power and influence in Afghanistan.”
Military officers also confirmed forces “killed a senior Pakistani Taliban leader along with seven of his associates” in southern Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province. Army Chief General Raheel Sharif signed six death warrants for terrorists “convicted and sentenced to death by military courts.” Two convicts received their punishment on Friday, which were Pakistan’s first executions in years. But the attacks did not worry the Taliban.
“We can create a mourning situation at the homes of many army generals and politicians,” said Taliban spokesman Mohammad Khurassani.
Radical cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz in Islamabad claims “sorrow” over the deadly attack in Peshawar, but warned “about a backlash” if Pakistan continues executions against the Taliban. He also said the fight against the Taliban is “un-Islamic” and excused the massacre because it “was in retaliation for air strikes against them.”
“This operation in the North Waziristan is un-Islamic,” said Aziz. “You may debate it, you may call scholars from abroad, from India and Bangladesh, I will go before them and prove it that this operation is un-Islamic.”
In light of these comments and the refusal to condemn the attack, Pakistanis peacefully protested outside Aziz’s Lal Masjid mosque. Police eventually broke up the protest without any incidents, but other groups continued to protest nearby.
The attack on the school led Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is no relation to the army chief, to state it is time to end the separation of the Taliban. He said, “There is no difference between good Taliban and bad Taliban,” and he promised that the military will “clean this region of terrorism.”