|Coffins delivered to a Peshawar hospital|
Perhaps the most profound word on today's atrocity in Peshawar was had by the Taliban's spokesman when he rationalized the massacre of children from the families of Pakistan's Army. "We are facing such heavy nights in routine," he said, referring to the thousands of casualties inflicted by the Army on extremists in Waziristan. "Today, you must face the heavy night."
It's just that simple. Inflicting suffering on the enemy is, by itself, a victory for the Pakistani Taliban.
The BBC's story was the best I saw, Peshawar school attack leaves 141 dead:
This brutal attack may well be a watershed for a country long accused by the world of treating terrorists as strategic assets.
Pakistan's policy-makers struggling to come to grips with various shades of militants have often cited a "lack of consensus" and "large pockets of sympathy" for religious militants as a major stumbling-block.
That is probably why, when army chief Gen Raheel Sharif launched what he called an indiscriminate operation earlier in the year against militant groups in Pakistan's lawless tribal belt, the political response was lukewarm at best.
We will get them, was his message, be they Pakistani Taliban, Punjabi Taliban, al-Qaeda and affiliates, or most importantly, the dreaded Haqqani network. But the country's political leadership chose to remain largely silent. This is very likely to change now.
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Still, even by Pakistan and the Taliban's gruesome standards, Tuesday's attack may be the most abominable yet.
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And for the past few months, the Pakistani military has been conducting a ground offensive aimed at clearing out militants. The campaign has displaced tens of thousands of people.
The military offensive in the region has spurred deadly retaliations.
Khurrassani, the Pakistan Taliban spokesman, told CNN that the latest attack was revenge for the killing of hundreds of innocent tribesmen during repeated army operations in provinces including South Waziristan, North Waziristan and the Khyber Agency.
The TTP spokesman challenged that ordinary citizens were targeted, saying that five army vehicles are routinely stationed at the school.
"We are facing such heavy nights in routine," Khurrassani said, rationalizing the siege shortly before it ended. "Today, you must face the heavy night."
According to news reports, the Pakistan Army has killed almost 2,000 militants in North Waziristan in a massive offensive that began in June. If the Pakistani political response to that anti-Taliban offensive had been lukewarm or ambivalent before, surely that will change after today's enormous provocation.
Today's attack could very well create a multi-generational war that will continue until the Pakistan Army has eradicated not just their enemy but his entire bloodline.