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2014年12月20日 (土)

パキスタン襲撃 テロ封じへ国際協調を強めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Pakistan school attack shows need for world to unite against terrorism
パキスタン襲撃 テロ封じへ国際協調を強めよ

This was an act of abominable cruelty that cannot be forgiven, no matter what the reasons for it were.

In northwest Pakistan, a group of gunmen from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an Islamist militant organization also known as the Pakistani Taliban, attacked an army-run school and killed more than 140 students and teachers.

It was the worst such disaster in Pakistan, where terrorist attacks carried out by extremists happen frequently.

U.S. President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other world leaders have quite rightfully condemned this attack “in the strongest possible terms.”

Malala Yousafzai, who in 2012 was shot and seriously injured by the Pakistani Taliban for her advocacy of women’s right to education and was this year awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, described the attack as “atrocious and cowardly acts … but we will never be defeated.” It is vital that the international community shares her resolve.

The assailants this time reportedly chased and gunned down children who were frantically trying to escape. The Pakistani Taliban claimed this attack was “revenge” for the deaths of family members during operations by the Pakistani military to clear out the militants. However, there can be no justification for a merciless slaughter targeting innocent, vulnerable people.

Even the Taliban that previously ruled neighboring Afghanistan criticized the killings, saying they “are against the basics of Islam.”

Security crumbling

The security situation in Pakistan has deteriorated in recent years. Militant groups such as the Pakistani Taliban that seek to install a harsh form of Islamic law have repeatedly attacked military bases and government organs, and many civilians have been caught up in their terrorist attacks.

Turmoil in Pakistan, which possesses nuclear weapons, destabilizes the entire region. That nation’s counterterrorism strategy urgently needs propping up.

Immediately after the school attack, the Pakistani military launched air strikes on TTP bases. Obama also announced the United States would continue providing military support to Pakistan. This apparently reflects the view that there are limits to Pakistan’s own operations to stamp out terrorism.

However, attacks by unmanned U.S. drones aimed at militants have also resulted in the deaths of nearby civilians, which has stoked anti-U.S. sentiment among the Pakistani people. Washington needs to consider whether there is more effective military assistance it can provide.

U.S. combat troops will pull out of Afghanistan by the end of this year. It is possible the vicious terrorist groups based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region might step up their activities, which could impede efforts by Pakistan to restore public order.

It has been reported that Arab terrorists in cooperative relations with the TTP also were involved in the school attack. A part of the TTP has tied up with the Islamic State, an extremist group in the Middle East.

The threat posed by terrorism is crossing international borders and continuing to spread.

Solidly unified cooperation among the international community is essential for containing terrorism. The United States and other affected nations should reconsider how to deal with the Pakistani Taliban.

Grappling with the nonmilitary aspects of this issue also is important. This includes cracking down on the terrorists’ sources of funds and eliminating poverty in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan where the TTP is based. We hope Japan also will play an appropriate role.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 19, 2014)Speech


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