Last Updated: Monday, 28 July 2014, 16:37 GMT

Education under Attack 2010 - Pakistan

Publisher UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)
Publication Date 10 February 2010
Cite as UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Education under Attack 2010 - Pakistan, 10 February 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b7aa9da27.html [accessed 29 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

In the Swat District in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), 172 schools were destroyed or damaged between 2007 and March 2009 as the Taliban fought and eventually took control of the area. Most were burnt down by Taliban militants; others were shelled, blasted, demolished or ransacked, leaving 108 schools fully destroyed and 64 schools partially damaged.592 The action deprived 23,000 girls and 17,000 boys of their education.593 More schools were closed due to occupation by Taliban groups or by security forces, or because female teachers were being threatened.594 In August 2009, by which time the army had regained control of the Swat Valley but was still fighting the Taliban in pockets of the district and surrounding area, NWFP education minister Qazi Asad claimed that 356 schools had been damaged by the Taliban.595

In Waziristan, 100 schools were reportedly burnt down in 2007 and 2008.596

In late June 2009, the Taliban torched a school at Manyar.597

On 27 April 2009, 12 children were killed when a bomb hidden in a football, left near the compound wall of a girls' school in Dir, west of Swat Valley, exploded.598

On 6 April 2009, two female teachers, an education aid worker and their driver were shot dead near Mansehra, NWFP, an area where Islamists had previously attacked aid groups. They all worked for Rise International, which promotes education.599

On 24 March 2009, the Government Girls' Higher Secondary School in Hathian village, Mardan, was bombed. On 23 March, a rocket hit the courtyard of FG Girls' High School in Peshawar; it was launched from nearby hills.600 On 2 March, a suicide bomber attacked a girls' school in Baluchistan, eastern Pakistan.601

In February 2009, girls' schools in Mardan District, north-east of Peshawar, were attacked.

Between 17 January and 26 January 2009, five schools were bombed in Swat, including both the government-run boys' high school and the girls' high school in Tahirabad, a suburb of Mingora.602

Eighteen schools had been occupied by armed forces engaged in fighting militants in Swat, affecting 7,000 students.603

On 16 January 2009, a government-run girls' middle school was blown up in Qambar, a suburb of Mingora, Swat.604

In December 2008, the Taliban warned girls' schools in Swat to close or face attack. Five hundred state schools and 400 hundred private schools, which were closed for holidays, were ordered to end classes for girls by 15 January 2009. After a public outcry, the ban was later "softened" to permit girls' education up to the end of Grade 4 only.605

On 2 August 2008, two schools were burned down in the Mingora area of Swat Valley. Police said 61 girls' schools had been burned down in the previous two months in Swat Valley.606

On 13 June 2008, militants bombed a girls' middle school at Namsir, Khall, Lower Dir, NWFP. On 12 June, a village English school for girls was bombed 200 km from Peshawar. On 10 June, a girls' high school was burnt in Wari. On 6 June, militants destroyed the government girls' middle school in Bibyawar and left a note saying it was attacked by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan for ignoring a warning on observing purdah.607

On 28 March 2008, a bomb attack badly damaged a girls' middle school in the Germany Qila area of Darra Adam Khel, NWFP. At least five other schools had been hit in the area in 2008, leaving parents terrified of sending their children to school.608

In February 2008, eight schools received telephoned bomb threats within three days in Lahore, causing fear and panic among parents.609

At least a dozen female education institutions and seven NGOs were bombed in NWFP in 2007.610

In December 2007, a suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a school bus 45 miles north-west of Islamabad, injuring six or seven children as well as the driver and guard.611

On 29 September 2007, a teacher was gunned down on her way home from school in Mohmand Agency, NWFP. She taught at a girls' community school. Teachers in 100 schools across Mohmand Agency had been told to wear the burkha or face death.612

In September 2007, the Swat education department ordered schools to comply with an order issued by pro-Taliban groups for the wearing of the burkha to be made mandatory for all school-age girls. The Sangota Public School for Girls, Mingora, received a threatening letter warning it, too, to make wearing of the burkha compulsory, even though it is a Christian missionary school.613 In some parts of NWFP, primary schools were ordered to segregate classes for boys and girls.614

On 22 July 2007, some 300 people were killed when security forces stormed Islamabad's Red Mosque and adjacent school, whose scholars and students had been campaigning to enforce sharia law in the capital.615

In February 2007, in NWFP, five private schools in Mansehra District were closed after being warned to make wearing the burkha compulsory.616

In June 2006, two teachers hired by the Barani Areas Development Programme to offer vocational training to women and girls were hacked to death with their children at the government girls' high school in Khwaga Cheri village, Orakzai Agency, south-west of Peshawar. IRIN reported that the crime was apparently carried out by tribesmen to send a message to NGO workers and other teachers.617

In July 2009, Pakistan's Army claimed that up to 1,500 boys as young as 11 years old were kidnapped from schools and madrasas and trained in Swat by the Taliban to become suicide bombers. Many were used to carry out attacks on US and NATO forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.618

Of two rescued recruits interviewed by The Times, one, aged 13, said he was studying in class five when he was abducted; the other, age 15, said he had been lured from classes in a madrasa. Both were taken from Mingora, Swat Valley, to a mountain base in Chuprial, where they underwent 16 hours a day of physical exercise and psychological indoctrination. They were rescued when army operations forced the Taliban to abandon their camps.619 A Reuters report in July 2009 said 12 boys had been rescued from suicide training camps in NWFP.620 A report by Press TV the same month claimed as many as 200 boys aged 6 to 13 had been rescued.621

US and Pakistani officials said children as young as 7 were being sold by one Taliban group, led by Baitullah Mehsud, to other Taliban and armed groups for use as suicide bombers. The rate quoted was $7,000 to $14,000.622

In May 2008, IRIN reported that journalists taken to Spinkai, a town in South Waziristan that had recently been cleared of Taliban, saw video footage of teenage boys carrying out executions of those deemed "enemies" by militants. Other pictures showed a classroom of boys being trained to fight.623 In Swat Valley, the authorities were investigating allegations that militants running madrasas in the region were recruiting and training children as soldiers. Six other students had been apprehended by police for alleged involvement in an attempted suicide attack.624

In February 2008, IRIN reported several cases of boys being either trained at or recruited from religious schools or seminaries to become suicide bombers.625 The Society for the Rights of the Child reported that 25 to 30 madrasa students, aged 7 to 15, had been used to carry out attacks by extremists and were being detained by security forces.626

In July 2007, a 14-year-old boy was reportedly returned to his family in Pakistan after being recruited from a madrasa in South Waziristan and trained as a suicide bomber to carry out an attack in Afghanistan. It was also reported that children between the ages of 11 and 15 were being recruited from schools in the tribal belt by pro-Taliban fighters, using propaganda and a degree of coercion, and were taken over the border to be trained in Afghanistan as suicide bombers.627


[Refworld note: The source report "Education under Attack 2010" was posted on the UNESCO website (www.unesco.org) in pdf format, with country chapters run together. Original footnote numbers have been retained here.]

592 Figures supplied by Executive District Officer, Elementary and Secondary Education, Swat.

593 Thaindian News, "Fear of Taliban: In Swat 400 Private Schools Close Girls' Classes," January 16, 2009.

594 United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI), "Statement on School Attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan," February 10, 2009.

595 IRIN News, "Pakistan: Schools in Swat Re-open," August 3, 2009.

596 Zahid Hussain, "Islamic Militants Threaten to Blow Up Girls' Schools If They Refuse to Close," The Times, December 26, 2008.

597 Declan Walsh, "New Crisis in Swat Valley as Residents Run Out of Food," The Guardian, June 20, 2009.

598 Zahid Hussain, "Many Reported Dead as Pakistani Army Attacks Taleban Near Swat," The Times, April 27, 2009.

599 The News, "Three Female NGO Workers, Driver Shot Dead," April 7, 2009, http://www.thenews. com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=21371; and Reuters, "Three Pakistani Women Promoting Education Killed," April 6, 2009.

600 Geo TV, "Girls' School Bombed in Mardan," March 24, 2009.

601 UNESCO, "Director-General Expresses Deep Concern About Girls' Education in Swat Valley: 'The Future of an Entire Country is Taken Hostage'," April 1, 2009.

602 IRIN News, "Pakistan: Government Assurances of Swat Schools Fall on Deaf Ears," January 26, 2009.

603 Thaindian News, "Fear of Taliban."

604 IRIN News, "Pakistan: Government Assurances of Swat Schools."

605 IRIN News, "Pakistan: Origins of the Violence in Swat Valley," February 26, 2009; IRIN News, "Pakistan: Timeline on Swat Valley Turbulence," February 11, 2009; Delawar Jan, "400 Private Schools in Swat Shut Down Girls' Classes," The News, January 16, 2009; Thaindian News, "Pakistan Condemns Militant Attacks on Schools," January 20, 2009, http://www.thain dian.com/newsportal/politics/pakistan-condemns-militant-attacks-on-schools_100144868.html; BBC, "Fresh Attacks on Pakistan Schools," January 19, 2009; and Hussain, "Islamic Militants Threaten to Blow Up Girls' Schools."

606 Thaindian News, "Two Girls' Schools Burnt Down in Pakistan," August 2, 2008.

607 Delawar Jan, "One More Girls' School Blown Up in Dir," The News, June 14, 2008; and ESL Daily, "Pakistan: Terror Attack, Girl School Bombed," June 12, 2008.

608 IRIN News, "Pakistan: Militants Target 'Western Entertainment' Shops, Girls' Schools," April 21, 2008.

609 IRIN News, "Pakistan: Schools in Lahore Face Bomb Threats Ahead of Polls," February 15, 2008.

610 IRIN News, "Pakistan: NGOs Worried About 'Volatile' Security Situation," January 14, 2008.

611 Reuters, "Suicide Bomber Rams School Bus in Pakistan, Kids Hurt," December 10, 2007.

612 IRIN News, "Pakistan: Teacher's Murder Heightens Fear in Northwest," October 14, 2007.

613 IRIN News, "Pakistan: Education the First Casualty in Swat," October 26, 2007.

614 IRIN News, "Pakistan: Teacher's Murder Heightens Fear."

615 IRIN News, "Pakistan: Education the First Casualty."

616 IRIN News, "Pakistan: Extremists Target Schoolgirls in North," December 10, 2007.

617 Ibid.

618 Zahid Hussain, "Teenage Bombers Are Rescued from Taleban Suicide Training Camps," The Times, July 27, 2009.

619 Ibid.

620 Reuters, "Pakistan Rescues Boys Trained as Suicide Bombers," July 28, 2009.

621 Press TV, "200 Child Suicide Bombers Rescued in Pakistan," July 28, 2009.

622 Sara A. Carter, "Taliban Buying Children for Suicide Bombers," Washington Times, July 2, 2009. Mehsud was reported killed by a CIA missile strike on August 5, 2009.

623 IRIN News, "Pakistan: Child Soldiers in Swat Valley," May 26, 2008.

624 Ibid.

625 IRIN News, "Pakistan: Child Suicide Bombers 'Victims of the Most Brutal Exploitation'," February 12, 2008.

626 Ibid.

627 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers Global Report 2008, 267.

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