1. Peshawar attack: John Kerry calls Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif expresses condolences

Peshawar attack: John Kerry calls Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif expresses condolences

US Secretary of State John Kerry has called the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to expresses...

By: | Washington | Updated: December 17, 2014 4:45 PM
A soldier escorts schoolchildren after they were rescued from from the Army Public School that is under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar, December 16, 2014. (Reuters)

A soldier escorts schoolchildren after they were rescued from from the Army Public School that is under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar, December 16, 2014. (Reuters)

US Secretary of State John Kerry has called the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to expresses “deepest condolences” on the horrific attack on a school in Peshawar that killed 141 people, majority of whom were children.

“Tonight, Secretary Kerry spoke with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to express the deepest condolences of the United States to the people of Pakistan after the tragic terrorist attack today in Peshawar, reaffirming our solidarity with and support for Pakistan in the struggle against extremism, particularly at this difficult time of mourning for the Pakistani people,” State Department Deputy-Spokesperson Marie Harf said.

Kerry called Sharif from London where he is travelling.

He is expected to travel to Pakistan in January for the US-Pak Strategic Dialogue.

“Broadly speaking, the message we convey to both Afghanistan and Pakistan is that there’s no place – they should not have safe havens for any of these terrorist organisations in their countries,” State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

“Obviously, we work with both countries on counterterrorism measures. But our conversations with Pakistan have been at all levels, of course, of the Pakistani Government regarding the attack.

  It’s really been about our offer of assistance and our offer to continue working closely together to address these challenges,” she said.

Psaki said yesterday’s attack was a cowardly attack against children who were in enclosed spaces within a school unsuspecting and doing their schoolwork.

She said the US continue to work closely with the Government of Pakistan.

Adding that Counterterrorism is an integral part of US-Pakistan relationship, Psaki maintained: “We understand certainly the threats that Pakistan faces, and unfortunately, the people of Pakistan are not new to dealing with some of these horrific acts.”

“But we’re going to keep working together, and I don’t think it reflects anything other than a cowardly attack by this group”.

The Board of Directors of the Global Partnership for Education, in a meeting deplored the appalling attack on the Peshawar school.

“We are deeply shocked by the needless and violent death of so many innocent children, teachers and other employees of the school,” it said.

Leaders of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) condemned the attack.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” said Samir Kalra, HAF senior director of human rights.

In a statement the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) offered it’s condolences to the victims, mostly children, of the Taliban’s attack.

“Our deepest condolences and prayers go out to the victims and their families of this senseless attack,” said ISNA president Azhar Azeez.

“There can be no justification religious or otherwise for the killing of innocent school children and school staff”.

The Human Rights Watch said the attack is of incomprehensible horror and brutality, even for a group that has already shown well-documented contempt for the lives of civilians.

“In its war against the Pakistani government, the TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan) has frequently violated international humanitarian law, which forbids armed forces of any kind from subjecting civilians to deliberate, indiscriminate, or disproportionate attacks.

“It was the TTP that shot Malala Yosafzai in the head in 2012 for fighting for girls’ education,” it said.

“This senseless and bloodthirsty attack on children must be condemned by people of all faiths and backgrounds anywhere in the world.”

“To see such brutality targeting children shocks the conscience and should spur action to apprehend and punish those behind this inexcusable terror attack,” said Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) national executive director Nihad Awad.

“As Muslims, as parents, and as human beings, we are devastated to hear of this horrific act of terror,” said Dr Nasim Rehmatullah, national vice president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA and condemned the Taliban in the strongest terms possible.

“We once again call upon the Government of Pakistan to stop this injustice and to root out and end the Taliban’s reign of terror.”

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