Yesterday’s deadly attack by the Pakistani Taliban on a school in Peshawar, an assault that featured suicide bombers and heavily armed gunmen going from classroom to classroom and on to the school auditorium to slaughter dozens of students, is part of an increased willingness by terrorists to target children, says the Christian Science Monitor. In April, the Nigerian Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls, an attack that shocked the world but was only the high-profile tip of the group's assault on both girls and boys, and on education.
In Afghanistan last week, the Taliban sent a young suicide bomber into a high school auditorium to detonate himself as students watched a modern dance program that depicted the horrors of suicide bombing. The attack was part of an intensifying destabilization campaign by the Taliban that had largely focused on the Afghan military, government officials and buildings, and sites frequented by foreigners. While using children to get at their parents or the government is not a new terrorist tactic, the mass targeting of children suggests that moral limitation on certain kinds of attacks is falling as terrorists look for more stunning and horrific ways to grab the international spotlight. “This is a massacre, and a massacre of children,” says Daniel Markey of the Council on Foreign Relations. “That means the barriers to attacking children have gone down, and that does reflect something different.”