When the gunfire stopped and the smoke cleared on Tuesday, 141 people, including 132 children, were dead at a school in the city of Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan. All seven of the militants involved in the attack also died, according to the Pakistani army. The Taliban in Pakistan were quick to take responsibility for the attack, saying that it was in response to Pakistani military operations. The Pakistan Taliban have been fighting the Pakistani government for some time, trying to oust the authorities and install Sharia law. The Pakistani government has said that it will not stop its war against the Taliban. Following the attack, President Obama reaffirmed the U.S.’s support for Pakistan’s government and their counterterrorism efforts.
While it does not appear that the U.S. or its military presence in the region had any direct link to the school attack, the Taliban have been vocal about their opposition to U.S. military being in the region. It’s also no secret that relations between U.S. and Pakistani governments have been fraught with distrust in years past.
How much intelligence do you think is exchanged between the U.S. and Pakistan? How have relations between the U.S. and Pakistan changed over the last several years? How important to U.S. foreign relations interests is maintaining good relations with Pakistan?
C. Christine Fair, Ph.D., assistant professor at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program within the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, author of Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War.
Kamal Hyder, correspondent for Al Jazeera English, currently in the city of Peshawar in the northwest part of Pakistan. He’s been covering the attack on the school.