Wednesday, December 17, 2014
که امریکا د کال ٢٠٠١ د سپټمبر د ١١ مې نیټې حملو د ارام د خوب نه ترهگرۍ خطر ته رابیداره کړه نو پکار ده چې د پیښور په ارمي پبلک سکول د طالبانو حمله هم دغه رنگ پاکستان د وسله والو خلاف جنگ ته راویښ کړي. دا خبره پاکستان کې د امریکې پخواني سفیر ویلئم مائلم کړې ده.
د پیښور په پیښه واشنگټن کې د تجزیه کارانو نظر پوښتلو په لړ کې چې وائس اف امریکا ډیوه ریډیو ښاغلي مائلم سره خبرې وکړې نو هغه وویل چې پاکستاني وسله وال د پاکستان د پوځ پیداوار دی.
هغه وايي "د پوځ جوړ کړی شوي بلا اوس راژوندۍ شوي ده او د دغه بلا اوس د خپل مالک پسې شوي ده."
ویلیئم مائلم وايي پاکستان کې د ترهگرۍ په اړه مفکوره د طالب پلوه سیاسي ډلو په لاس کې ده او دا بدلول به ډیر گران وي.
هغه وايي "دا به گرانه وي چې د اسلام پلوه قوتونو په لاس کې ورغلې دغه سوچ کې څه بدولون راشي خو حکومت له بیا هم پکار دي چې د دې سوچ بدلولو لپاره هڅې وکړي."
هم واشنگټن کې د مډل ایسټ انسټیټیوټ د پاکستان تجزیه کار ماون وائین بام وايي د پیښور قتل عام ترهگرۍ خلاف د پاکستان پوځ د جنگیدو امتحان دی.
ترهگرۍ خلاف جنگ کې وائین بام وايي د افغانستان او پاکستان همکاري انتهائي اهمیت لري.
هغه وايي "افغان حکومت پاکستان سره تعلقات ښه کولو ته لیواله دی خو اوس به کتنه دا وي چې په راتلونکې
وخت کې دغه تعلقات څه شکل اختیاروي."
By PETER BAKERDEC The United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half-century after the release of an American contractor held in prison for five years, President Obama announced on Wednesday. In a deal negotiated during 18 months of secret talks hosted largely by Canada and encouraged by Pope Francis, who hosted a final meeting at the Vatican, Mr. Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba agreed in a telephone call to put aside decades of hostility to find a new relationship between the United States and the island nation just 90 miles off the American coast. “We will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries,” Mr. Obama said in a nationally televised statement from the White House. The deal will “begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas” and move beyond a “rigid policy that is rooted in events that took place before most of us were born.” The surprise announcement represented a dramatic turning point in more than five decades of hostility born in the depths of the Cold War and yet frozen in time long after the fall of the Berlin Wall and collapse of the Soviet Union. Once a geopolitical flashpoint, the Cuba-American relationship has been a thorn in the side of multiple presidents and even now generated fierce criticism from those who equated a diplomatic thaw to appeasement of the hemisphere’s leading dictatorship. Mr. Obama has long expressed hope of transforming relations with the island nation, an aspiration that remained untenable as long as Cuba held Alan P. Gross, the American government contractor arrested in 2009 and sentenced to 15 years in a Cuban prison. In agreeing to free him, Cuba cleared the way for Mr. Obama to take a political risk with the last national election of his presidency behind him. Mr. Gross traveled on an American government plane back to the United States late Wednesday morning, and the United States sent back three Cuban spies who had been in an American prison since 2001. American officials said the Cuban spies were swapped for a United States intelligence agent who had been in a Cuban prison for nearly 20 years, and said Mr. Gross was not technically part of the swap, but was released separately on “humanitarian grounds.” In addition, the United States will ease restrictions on remittances, travel and banking relations, and Cuba will release 53 Cuban prisoners identified as political prisoners by the United States government. Although the decades-old American embargo on Cuba will remain in place for now, the president called for an “honest and serious debate about lifting” it, which would require an act of Congress. “These 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s time for a new approach.” Addressing critics of his new approach, he said he shares their commitment to freedom. “The question is how we uphold that commitment,” he said. “I do not believe we can keep doing the same thing for over five decades and expect a different result.” Mr. Castro spoke simultaneously on Cuban television, taking to the airwaves with no introduction and announcing that he had spoken by telephone with Mr. Obama. “We have been able to make headway in the solution of some topics of mutual interest for both nations,” he announced, emphasizing the release of the three Cubans. “President Obama’s decision deserves the respect and acknowledgment of our people.” Only afterward did he mention the reopening of diplomatic relations. “This in no way means that the heart of the matter has been resolved,” he said. “The economic, commercial and financial blockade, which causes enormous human and economic damages to our country, must cease.” But, he added, “the progress made in our exchanges proves that it is possible to find solutions to many problems.” Mr. Castro acknowledged that Mr. Obama was easing the blockade through his executive authority and called on the United States government to go further to “remove the obstacles that impede or restrict the links between our peoples, the families and the citizens of both our countries.”
Mr. Gross, accompanied by his wife, Judy, and three members of Congress, landed at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington shortly before noon. His sister, Bonnie Rubinstein, was “beyond ecstatic” at the news, according to her husband, Harold. “We are extremely grateful that he’s on his way home,” Mr. Rubinstein said by telephone from Dallas. “It’s been a long ordeal.” Secretary of State John Kerry landed at Andrews shortly afterward and met with Mr. Gross, his wife, other members of his family and his lawyer, Scott Gilbert. While the meeting was unplanned, a State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said it gave Mr. Kerry a chance to “express his overwhelming happiness that Alan Gross is now free and reunited with his family on American soil.” At a news conference in Washington, Mr. Gross said he supported Mr. Obama’s move toward normalizing relations with Cuba, adding that his own ordeal and the injustice with which Cuban people have been treated were “a consequence of two governments’ mutually belligerent policies.” “Five and a half decades of history show us that such belligerence inhibits better judgment. Two wrongs never make a right,” Mr. Gross said. “This is a game-changer, which I fully support.” Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and a son of Cuban immigrants who may run for president in 2016, denounced the new policy as “another concession to a tyranny” and a sign that Mr. Obama’s administration is “willfully ignorant of the way the world truly works.” “This whole new policy is based on an illusion, on a lie, the lie and the illusion that more commerce and access to money and goods will translate to political freedom for the Cuban people,” Mr. Rubio said. “All this is going to do is give the Castro regime, which controls every aspect of Cuban life, the opportunity to manipulate these changes to stay in power.” Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey and the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, was also sharply critical. “Let’s be clear, this was not a ‘humanitarian’ act by the Castro regime. It was a swap of convicted spies for an innocent American,” Mr. Menendez said in a written statement. “President Obama’s actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government.” Mr. Obama spoke with Mr. Castro by telephone on Tuesday to finalize the agreement in a call that lasted more than 45 minutes, the first direct contact between the leaders of the two countries in more than 50 years, American officials said. Diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba were severed in January 1961 after the rise of Fidel Castro and his Communist government. Mr. Obama has instructed Mr. Kerry to immediately initiate discussions with Cuba about re-establishing diplomatic relations and to begin the process of removing Cuba from the list of states that sponsor terrorism, which it has been on since 1982, the White House said. Officials said they would re-establish an embassy in Havana and carry out high-level exchanges and visits between the two governments within months. Mr. Obama will send an assistant secretary of state to Havana next month for talks on Cuban-American migration and will attend a Summit of the Americas along with Mr. Castro. The United States will begin working with Cuba on issues like counternarcotics, environmental protection and human trafficking. The United States will also ease travel restrictions across all 12 categories currently envisioned under limited circumstances in American law, including family visits, official visits, journalistic, professional, educational and religious activities, and public performances, officials said. Ordinary tourism, however, will remain prohibited. Mr. Obama will also allow greater banking ties, making it possible to use debit cards in Cuba, and raise the level of remittances allowed to be sent to Cuban nationals to $2,000 every three months from the current limit of $500. Intermediaries forwarding remittances will no longer require a specific license from the government. American travelers will also be allowed to import up to $400 worth of goods from Cuba, including up to $100 in tobacco and alcohol products. The Vatican hailed the agreement. “The Holy Father wishes to express his warm congratulations for the historic decision taken by the governments of the United States of America and Cuba to establish diplomatic relations, with the aim of overcoming, in the interest of the citizens of both countries, the difficulties which have marked their recent history,” it said in a statement. Mr. Gross’s health has been failing. He reportedly lost more than 100 pounds in prison and is losing vision in his right eye. He went on a nine-day hunger strike in April. After turning 65 in May, he told relatives that he might try to kill himself if not released soon. Three members of Congress were on the plane that picked up Mr. Gross in Cuba on Wednesday and accompanied him back to the United States, officials said: Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, and Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland.
What does one say when children are mowed down while taking an examination at their school? What does one say about those who use guns, grenades and bombs to kill those children? What does one say about a country where all this happens? We are left with very little to say. There are no words strong enough to describe the horror of what happened at the Army Public School in Peshawar on Tuesday morning. All that is left behind is a deep sense of grief and hollowness as we realise that we are up against a force that lacks humanity and morality and knows only how to inflict pain – pain that for over 100 families will never go away. The militants quite clearly intended to kill as many as possible. Early reports that they may have intended to take the pupils hostage were proved incorrect. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack, and stated it was directed against the army that is killing TTP members in the tribal areas. At last count, as per ISPR, the toll at the school stood at at least 141 dead, with nearly 125 injured. Most of the victims, over 100, were children aged between 12 and 16 years. At least one suicide blast took place, claiming the maximum number of lives. Others were lost to bullets and other explosives. During the efforts to clear the school, spread over many hours, reportedly nine militants were killed with the situation complicated by the fact that they had laid land mines in some areas. The sense of horror reverberating around the country, and the world, is very genuine. The prime minister, who rushed to Peshawar, has announced a three-day national mourning. The army chief, who also cut short his trip to Quetta to reach Peshawar, met with the PM there to brief him on what details were known about what counts as among the worst terrorist attacks in our history. Certainly, children have never before been targeted in this fashion. Condemnation has come in from virtually every political and religious party while Imran Khan, describing the attack as an act of unjustifiable brutality, called off both his plan to shut down Pakistan on Thursday and his talks with the government. One does wish that Imran Khan had taken the opportunity to condemn the TTP by name rather than wonder who might have carried out this attack when the militant group had already claimed responsibility for it.International condemnation has also poured in. No one, it appears, can quite believe what has happened. But we have to stare at our ugly reflection in the mirror – and understand that this is what has happened to us; this is us – schoolchildren dying in their classrooms while taking exams. The grief stricken parents of the children who have died in Peshawar deserve for us all to pause and reflect on what we have become. So do other families who have been torn apart by terrorism. The question to be asked is: how can we make this stop? How do we keep our children safe? The military operation in NWA and other places must continue. But we need political will and political action to back it, as well as every effort to tackle the root causes that lead to such acts of terrorism. The prime minister has called a meeting in Peshawar of the leaders of all parties. Now is the time they must come together and put aside any differences of ideology or perspective. Nothing matters more than ending militancy and the brutality it has brought to our society. Nothing matters more than avoiding, for the future, the scenes we saw on Tuesday. This should be our only concern right now.
By BILL ROGGIO
The US killed 11 members of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban in an airstrike in the eastern province of Nangarhar yesterday. The strike is the fifth that has targeted Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan fighters and leaders operating inside Afghanistan since the last week of November.
Four members of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan and seven Afghan Taliban fighters were killed in the "drone strike" that targeted a pickup truck, Mahlem Mashuq, the governor of Shirzad district in Nangarhar, told Reuters.
The airstrike, which could have been carried out by the remotely piloted Predators or Reapers, or a variety of strike aircraft that operate in Afghanistan, was confirmed by Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiwal, the spokesman for police forces in Nangarhar. At least one of the jihadists killed in the attack was an important commander, Mashriqiwal told Khaama Press. He did not indicate if the commander was a member of the Afghan or Pakistani branch of the Taliban.
Yesterday's strike took place as a suicide assault team from the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan attacked a high school in Peshawar and killed everyone in their path. Officials stated that 132 student and nine teachers were killed during the rampage. The Afghan Taliban released an official statement condemning the attack while not mentioning the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan by name. [See LWJreports, Pakistani Taliban assault military high school in Peshawar and Afghan Taliban releases statement condemning attack on Pakistani school.]
Yesterday's airstrike in Nangarhar is the fifth since Nov. 24 that has targeted Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan fighters and leaders operating in eastern Afghanistan, and the fourth in Nangarhar. On Nov. 24, the US targeted Mullah Fazlullah, the emir of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, in the Nazyan district. Fazlullah was not killed. On Dec. 1 and Dec. 2, the US attacked the Pakistani Taliban group in the Shirzad and Lal Pur districts. [See LWJ report, US airstrikes in eastern Afghanistan target Pakistani Taliban.] On Dec. 7, the US launched another airstrike in the Shigal district in Kunar province.
The US has targeted Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan fighters and commanders operating inside Afghanistan over the past several years, however the strikes were infrequent. The most high-profile airstrike took place on Aug. 24, 2012, when the US killed Mullah Dadullah (a.k.a. Maulana Mohammad Jamal), his deputy, Shakir, and 10 Taliban fighters in an airstrike Kunar's Shigal district. [See LWJ report,Bajaur Taliban leader, deputy killed in airstrike in eastern Afghanistan.]
The US killed Baitullah and Hakeemullah Mehsud, the previous two emirs of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, in drone strikes in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan. Baitullah, the group's founder, was killed in August 2009, and Hakeemullah, who organized the Times Square bomb plot, was killed in November 2013.
The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, which has been weakened of late due to internal divisions and defections, has had a presence in eastern Afghanistan since the organization was founded in late 2006. The jihadist group, which is closely allied with al Qaeda and has sworn allegiance to Mullah Omar, the emir of the Afghan Taliban, has waged jihad on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border. The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has increased its footprint in eastern Afghanistan recently due to Pakistani military operations that have targeted its strongholds over the border in North Waziristan.
Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/12/us_airstrike_targets_7.php#ixzz3MBKn0yH5
Pakistan peoples Party S Media Punjab on Wednesday held a protest demonstration and a candle vigil outside Lahore Press Club to condemn the barbaric attack on a school in Peshawar in which at least 124 children were killed and to express solidarity with the bereaved families.
Pakistan peoples Party S Media Punjab on Wednesday held a protest demonstration and a candle vigil outside Lahore Press Club to condemn the barbaric attack on a school in Peshawar in which at least 124 children were killed and to express solidarity with the bereaved families.
Head S Media Ms Jahanara M Wattoo led the protest while other representatives of Peoples Youth Organization (PYO), Peoples Students Federation (PSF), Peoples Labour Wing, Human Rights Wing and civil society were also present there.
Addressing the protesters, Ms Jahanara M Wattoo said that there was no option except to battle terrorism in the country, and the only party standing against terrorism was the PPP with clear-cut stance.
She said this dastardly and inhuman attack on innocent children expose the real face of terrorists, it was a barbarity that cannot be surpassed.
She maintained that it was time to get united against terrorism and defeat this evil, otherwise they will continue killing our defenseless children while they learn.
The candle vigil participants were carrying banners and placards bearing inscriptions “Say No to Terrorism”, “Stay United Against Terrorism”, “Raise Your Voice Against Terrorism”, and “Dehshat Gardo Ka Jo Yar Hai Ghdar Hai Ghdar Hai”.
The participants also chanted slogans against terrorists.
Mr. Raja Amir Khan, information secretary Punjab, Natasha Daultana former MNA, Junaid Qaiser, Ali Asghar Awan, Syed Ahsan Abbas Rizvi, Shahzadi Tauseef Cheema, Asif Khan, Zahid Anwar, Aamir Sohail Butt, Mujtaba Subhani and Naseer Ahmad also spoke on the occasion and condemned the barbaric attack.
Scores of children were killed in a recent Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar. But instead of re-evaluating its own flawed security policies, Pakistan's establishment is pointing fingers at neighboring Afghanistan.
Those who were expecting a drastic shift in Pakistan's security policies after the heinous attack by the Taliban on a school in Peshawar will have to wait some time. The assault, in which 141 people were killed, provided a great opportunity for the Pakistani authorities to do some introspection and re-evaluate the country's decades-old security policies. Islamabad, however, chose to put the blame on "external elements," yet again.
The chief of Pakistan's ubiquitous army, Raheel Sharif, flew to Afghanistan on Wednesday, December 17, to meet the top military and civilian leadership in Kabul and discuss the Tuesday massacre. The Pakistani media claimed that Sharif demanded the Afghan government to extradite the head of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Mullah Fazlullah, who is wanted in terrorism cases in Pakistan.
Pakistan's Dawn newspaper has cited the country's security sources as claiming that a Taliban commander, Umar Naray, had masterminded the Peshawar attack from Afghanistan.
"His (Naray) communications have been intercepted as well which helped security agencies in tracing his location and whereabouts which was urgently shared not only with the Afghan army but also with NATO forces," a security source told Dawn.
Over 130 children were killed in an army-run school in the capital city of the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on December 16. The Pakistani Taliban claimed the responsibility for the school siege and attack and said the assault was a "response to military's 'Zarb-e-Azb' offensive, the killing of Taliban fighters and the harassment of their families."
The attack led to widespread condemnation of the Taliban both locally and internationally. A large number of Pakistanis demanded the government take decisive action against all Islamist groups in the country once and for all.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who declared a mourning period after the kilkings, also pledged to step up efforts against the insurgents. "The fight will continue. No one should have any doubt about it," Sharif warned. "We will take account of each and every drop of our children's blood."
On Wednesday, Sharif convened a conference of the country's main political parties to devise a strategy against the militants. But before the civilian government reached a political consensus on how to deal with home-grown Islamists, a number of conservative political commentators, religious parties, and members of the security establishment had begun talking about the alleged role of New Delhi and Kabul in the attack.
Back to square one?
"Pakistan needs a long-term policy to eradicate terrorism. It might be true that Fazlullah was behind the Peshawar attack, but Islamabad needs to look internally as well," former DW Urdu journalist and Islamabad based analyst, Agha Sattar, told DW.
Sattar added that earlier this month when US officials in Afghanistan handed over the Taliban commander Latif Mehsud to the Pakistani authorities, many hoped that Washington, Kabul and Islamabad were finally on the same page over the Taliban issue. "But the recent surge in attacks in the Afghan capital, and the insistence of the Afghan government that the attackers were backed by the Pakistani spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), showed that the conflict was far from over," Sattar said.
The Hague-based Pakistani human rights activist, Kamal Ayoub, says that India and Afghanistan too react to terror attacks by blaming Pakistan. "That's how all these countries try to conceal their own shortcomings and responsibilities," he told DW.
Zeenia Shaukat, an activist working for a labor rights institution in Karachi, does not find the Pakistani reaction surprising. "The 'Indian agents' thinking is deeply entrenched not only in the mindset of our policy-makers, but also among the general public. Unfortunately, the media too promotes the 'foreign forces-did-it' narrative," she told DW.
The fact remains that most Pakistani politicians and military officials normally do not condemn the Taliban unequivocally. A number of them do not use the term "the Taliban" or "TTP" while commenting on terror attacks.
On Wednesday, Altaf Hussain, one of Pakistan's anti-Taliban politician who is currently in self-exile in London, lashed out at PM Sharif for "avoiding to hold the TTP directly responsible" for the Peshawar massacre.
Some experts say that Islamabad wants to use the Taliban in Afghanistan after the NATO drawdown in the coming days, while others assert that the Pakistani military hopes to regain the influence in Kabul it once enjoyed before the US and its allies toppled the pro-Pakistan Taliban government in 2001.
However, Pakistani analyst Abdul Agha is of the view that his country's powerful army is responsible for the continuing strength of the TTP. "They are nurturing and supporting a number of militant groups. The result is that they are still very active," he told DW.
Commenting on the Zarb-e-Azb army operation in Waziristan, Agha said that "the government is going after the [militant groups] that have turned against the state, or who don't agree with its long-term plans vis-à-vis Afghanistan. Pakistan wants to eliminate some and will preserve some for the future."
Maqsood Ahmad Jan, an analysts based in Charsadda near Peshawar, criticized the government of the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, headed by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan's conservative Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, for its pro-Islamist stance. "Khan has a soft spot for the Taliban. His party's provincial government has failed to protect the common people from the extremists. The school siege is proof," Jan commented.
Since August, the PTI has been holding country-wide demonstrations to topple PM Sharif's central government, which Khan and his party officials claim came into power in May 2013 through rigged parliamentary elections. Experts say that since the embattled premier is busy fighting a political war in the capital Islamabad, he is not in a position to focus on the terrorism issues.
"It is no secret that the PTI is a sympathizer of the Taliban insurgency as the party has repeatedly denounced military action against the extremists on the pretext of opposing American interference. Since Khan started demonstrations against Sharif's government, his party has remained largely silent on Zarb-e-Azb," Islamabad-based political commentator, Khayyam Mushir, told DW, adding that the ongoing anti-government protests were a major distraction for the PM Sharif who is further conflicted on what position to take on the terror issue.
A day after Pakistan's worst-ever massacre in Peshawar, two bomb blasts were reported in Dera Ismail Khan on Wednesday.
Two loud explosions heard outside a girls college of Dera Ismail Khan.
Dera Ismail Khan is a district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The security forces rushed to the spot of the incident and cordoned off the area.
According to some reports, no militant group has claimed the responsibility of the blasts as of now and no casualty has been reported.
The nature of the blasts yet to be established.
At least 141 people, mostly children, were killed when Taliban attackers stormed the Army school on Tuesday.
ByJERE VAN DYKCBS
In traditional Pashtun culture, thousands of years old, women and children were left untouched in warfare. No self-respecting man would harm a woman or a child. He would not be welcomed back to his village, and women would mock him. What kind of man kills women or children?
In June, under pressure from the U.S., which wants to leave Afghanistan and not worry about more attacks, the Pakistani Army went into the tribal areas along the Afghan border that are the headquarters of the Pakistani Taliban. The Pakistani Army is still there -- with planes, artillery, and tanks killing Taliban, but also women and children.
Before the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the Pakistani Army never went into the tribal areas. Never. The first time was in 2003, again under pressure from the U.S.
The Taliban have few ways to strike back. This is asymmetric warfare. The Taliban are desperate, and will never give in. They are Pashtuns lashing out at the Punjabi Pakistani Army. This is an ethnic battle as well. The Punjabis are the largest ethnic group in Pakistan. About 80% of the Pakistani bureaucracy is Punjabi and it is the same for the Army. This argument only goes so far as the school, in Peshawar, along the border, where the Pashtuns live, probably had many Pashtun student who were children of the military.
The Pakistani Army was the first to attack a school when it attacked the Red Mosque, named for the color of its bricks, in Islamabad in 2007. Inside the Red Mosque was the largest girl's madrassa in Pakistan. The girls in the Red Mosque came from the tribal areas. They were Pashtuns. Punjabis started this, the Taliban will say, and they wanted revenge.
This was a suicide attack. In the 1980s Afghan-Soviet war there was not one suicide bombing. No Pashtun or Tajik would kill himself. It was forbidden in ancient tribal culture.
The first suicide bombing in the Afghan-Pakistan theater took place in Islamabad in November 1995, at the Egyptian Embassy. It was the work of Gamaa-i-Islamiya (The Islamic Group), a violent splinter group of the Muslim Brotherhood led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, head of al Qaeda. Zawahiri is believed to be living today somewhere in Pakistan.
The first proposed suicide bombing in the Middle East was in Alexandria, Egypt in 1954 against Gamal Abdel Nasser, president of Egypt; although no one volunteered. This, too, was organized by Gamaa-i-Islamiya, which was also involved in the 1981 murder of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.
The Taliban began to employ suicide bombing after 1995, with the influx of Egyptian militants, and others who would create and become a part of al Qaeda.
Jalaladin Haqqani, a mujahideen leader with whom I have lived, today heads the dreaded Haqqani Network, the most lethal anti-Western insurgency group in the Tribal areas. But in the 1980s, he negotiated with the Afghan Communist Army rather than kill other Afghans, common then. He later became close to and was influenced by Arab militants.
Today, Haqqani has a unit which trains suicide bombers. What changed?
It began, many Arabs feel, with the terrible torture inflicted upon al-Zawahiri and others in Egyptian prisons. How can a man be Muslim and torture another Muslim? It is not possible. He is no longer Muslim. He is an apostate. The Pakistani Army -- under the thumb of the U.S. -- is killing fellow Muslims. Thus they are apostates, the thinking goes, and we can kill them.
When I was held by the Taliban in captivity in 2008, I had to listen for hours to Taliban suicide bomber recruitment tapes. The Taliban sang goodbye to their mothers; and they sang of their homeland, of their history, of poetry. One of the Taliban with me told me "If there is a fire, a father takes his child's hand and keeps him away from the fire. But I would love to have my children become suicide bombers."
In their religious doctrine, they would be martyrs and go to paradise. The Taliban would also go to paradise. The Taliban in prison got emotional thinking of becoming such, and the damage they would inflect on the enemy, the invader.
It has become a glorious, romantic thing to be a suicide bomber. It is a wish for death. The children killed today will go to a better place. A cynical officer in Yemen, who is enjoying a longer life, said, "I can turn a poor young boy into a suicide bomber in one week." This, too, was once alien in Arab culture.
The culture has changed.
In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia responded by spending billions of dollars backing the Mujahideen -- Afghan guerrillas willing to fight back. Thousands of Saudis, Yemenis, Egyptians, who were called Afghan Arabs, and other young Muslim men from around the world, went to Afghanistan to fight with the Mujahideen. Wahhabi missionaries from Saudi Arabia went also. Some officials in the Middle East today call the Taliban a Wahhabi army.
Wahhabism is an ultra-conservative sect of Sunni Islam named for an eighteenth-century preacher and scholar.
Jamel Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist in Afghanistan during that period, is now head of al-Arab News Channel and a columnist for al-Hayat. At a meeting in Bahrain recently, Khashoggi told me that there has been a major, and unexplored change in Muslim culture, one that is not discussed in the West.
It is "raw Wahhabism," to use his words; this change, this nihilism, this desperation, this destruction of Afghan-Pakistani Pashtun culture. And equally, the terrible tactics of ISIS, which are no different from the Wahhabis in 1802, when they destroyed the Imam Hussein Mosque in Karbala, which Tamerlane spared. And which ISIS now wants to attack again in Iraq.
The Taliban are insecure about their lack of formal education. This is one reason why they destroyed schools. A girl in traditional rural Pashtun culture will disappear into the family compound once she reaches puberty, never to be seen again by an outsider.
But the Taliban, in the 1990s, as they became exposed to the outside world, began to realize the importance of girl's education. There were more girls in school in Afghanistan under the Taliban than any time in history, although the Western media never reported this. There are, of course, more girls in school, by far, today than ever before.
In an example of self-defeating thinking, the Taliban, and segments of Pakistani culture, consider Malala Yousafzai to be pro-Western and anti-Pakistan, a tool of the West. Malala, of course, is the Pashtun girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban for wanting to go to school, and who just received the Nobel Peace Prize for her courage and her stand on behalf of education.
Boko Haram, in Nigeria, means "no education"; or, more accurately, no Western education. The Army public-school children in Peshawar receive a good, Western-influenced education. There are many such good schools in Pakistan.
Today's school massacre harkens back to the massacre by Chechen rebels in 2004 in Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia. The Chechen leaders, who were trained in tribal areas of Pakistan, attacked a school -- taking over 1,000 hostages. Nearly 200 children were killed.
On Tuesday, the death toll for the Pakistan school massacre is 141 people - almost all of them students.