Since Friday, November 7, fighters, apparently with links to Taliban and al-Qaida groups, blew up a girls’ primary school and a basic health unit in the province’s militancy-hit Swat Valley, near the main town of Mangora, Pakistani and Indian media reported. There were apparently no serious injuries in the two attacks.
The Taliban have so far destroyed at least 120 schools – 82 girls and 38 boys’ schools – in the province, including Christian run institutions. Taliban militants also kidnapped a person, identified as named Muhammad, apparently for allowing his girl to study. There were no immediate reports of his whereabouts.
Christians have been reeling from other attacks, including last month, when Taliban militants bombed a Catholic-run girls’ school in Swat Valley.
The militants attacked the Convent Girls’ School in Sangota, run by the Presentation Sisters, a Catholic religious order that has opened girls’ schools around the world. Christians said militants had threatened the school frequently for offering education to females.
Fighting also continued between government forces and militants in North-West Frontier Province, injuring at least five civilians and several soldiers since Friday, November 7, authorities said. The clashes followed several suicide attacks this week, in which at least a dozen tribesmen loyal to the central government were killed.
Aid workers and other foreigners have also been caught up in the fighting. The Polish Foreign Ministry said efforts were underway to free a Polish engineer kidnapped September 28, some 200 kilometers south of the Pakistani capital Islamabad. The kidnappers reportedly killed his three accompanying guards.
“We have new information, which we cannot present at the moment, but which proves that the Pole is alive. We can never be sure that all the information we receive guarantees a 100 percent certainty,” added Ministry spokesman Piotr Paszkowski in a statement.
A video recording appeared on television in mid October, with the Pole appealing to Pakistani authorities to fulfill the demands of the kidnappers, including the release of jailed Taliban fighters.
Taliban and al-Qaida militants are battling against the Western-backed government of Pakistan and have made clear they want to establish a state based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law, which would include a ban on education for girls.