Militants blow up another girls' school in South Waziristan

Blast damaged a portion of building at around 3am, but no casualty was reported

By
Javed Aziz Khan
Young boys stands at the site of the bombed school in Waziristan. — X/@khorasandiary
  • Attack damaged portion of school, no casualty reported.
  • This was second attack on girls' school in last eight days.
  • Reports claim school administration received extortion letters.

PESHAWAR: In yet another blow to girls' education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa amid the ongoing wave of terrorism, militants have bombed a portion of a girls' school in the Wana tehsil of South Waziristan, The News reported on Saturday.

The country's north-western region has remained gripped by terror attacks since mid-2021, impacting several girls' schools in districts across KP.

The Sofia Noor School — established with support from Wana Welfare Association for the girls of the remote and underdeveloped district a few weeks back — was blown up on Friday, within eight days of a school destroyed in the southern districts.

The Islamia Girls School was bombed in Sheva town of North Waziristan on May 9. However, no casualty was reported in the bomb attack.

The blast on the school has triggered fear among residents of the province, who continue to witness attacks on educational institutions almost on a daily basis for years now.

According to The News, construction in some blocks of the school was continuing. As per reports, the blast damaged a portion of the building at around 3am, but no casualty was reported. Some social media reports also claimed that the school's administration had received letters for extortion. Locals, however, have categorically denied it.

"Those who attacked the school want to keep the people of Waziristan deprived of education and development. However, this will not discourage us and we will continue to educate the new generation,” said Wana Welfare Association spokesperson to AFP.

The spokesperson added that their organisation received a letter "about a month ago" from a militant group demanding a specific portion of their funding.

"A few days later, another letter was thrown into our office, demanding a payment of Rs10 million ($36,000),” a senior member of the association in Peshawar told AFP.

Requesting anonymity following no authority to speak with media, they added: "Following that, we started receiving threatening calls from Afghan numbers, demanding extortion money."

The member also alleged that the school administration was told demands were coming from local Taliban factions.

"We made numerous attempts to reach out to these militant groups locally but were unsuccessful,” they said.

Meanwhile, a district government official told AFP, on condition of anonymity, that Taliban factions are extorting local traders in the area.

“Those who refuse to pay are targeted, with their homes damaged or themselves killed,” he said, adding that several traders have been kidnapped and murdered in the past couple of years.

In KP, hundreds of schools were bombed, torched or attacked with automatic weapons in different parts over a decade back. The situation, however, improved after police and security forces launched operations. There was peace for almost a decade before the attack on schools in Waziristan which triggered concerns among the local population.