The targeted school is the Government Girls Higher Secondary School in Kotka Mumbati Barakzai, which suffered substantial damage, including the complete destruction of the science lab.
In addition to setting the school on fire, the miscreants stole solar panels and other items, vandalized the school’s boundary wall, and left threatening graffiti near the main gate warning of further attacks if classes were to resume.
While schools in the district are presently closed for the winter break, police officials initiated an investigation into the act of terror. This incident marks the first occurrence of a school being set ablaze in Bannu following the increase in militant attacks after the government decided to terminate the ceasefire with the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan last year.
This year has witnessed several instances of girls’ schools being targeted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In May 2023, terrorists blew up two girls’ schools in the North Waziristan district.
These attacks have occurred in the context of increased militant activity, prompting Islamabad to launch a new offensive against terrorists, particularly in response to a destructive mosque bombing that claimed over 100 lives in February.
While stability had been established following the Pakistani military’s Operation Zarb-e-Azb in June 2014 along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, there has been a resurgence of terrorism, especially in the form of targeted attacks, since late 2022.
This year, there has been a notable increase in militancy, with suicide attacks reaching the highest level since 2014.