Police Officer Opens Fire on School Bus in Northwestern Pakistan, Killing 8-Year-Old Girl

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In a tragic incident on Tuesday, a police officer responsible for safeguarding a private school for girls in northwestern Pakistan turned violent, opening fire on a school bus carrying teachers and students. The shooting occurred in the Swat Valley of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, leaving an 8-year-old girl dead and five others injured. Officer Alam Khan, who was immediately apprehended, carried out the attack, but authorities confirmed that it was not a militant act. According to Senior Police Official Nasir Satti, investigators are currently questioning Khan to ascertain the motives behind his actions. The bus was targeted as it was leaving the premises of the school, which caters to girls up to the age of 17.

Four students and a woman accompanying them on the bus sustained injuries during the shooting. Khan had been assigned security duty at the school due to concerns about potential militant threats. The Swat Valley, previously under the influence of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), was cleared of militants by security forces in 2019 following extensive military operations. Instances of gun violence targeting children are uncommon in Pakistan. However, the country witnessed a devastating attack in 2014 when TTP militants targeted a school in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, resulting in the deaths of nearly 150 people, predominantly students.

Since then, authorities have taken steps to enhance security at educational institutions nationwide, particularly in the volatile northwest region where the Pakistani Taliban has intensified its attacks on security forces in recent months. It is important to note that although the Pakistani Taliban maintains ties with the Afghan Taliban, the group responsible for the attack on the school bus is a distinct entity. The Afghan Taliban gained control of Afghanistan in August 2021 as the United States and NATO troops completed their withdrawal from the country after two decades of conflict.

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