The Comeback

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Militants set fire to a girls’ school in northwestern Pakistan Wednesday, the latest such attack in a region that was formerly a Pakistani Taliban stronghold, the Associated Press reported.

Police in North Waziristan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province said the assailants used kerosene to set fire to the school, which destroyed furniture, computers and books. No one was hurt in the attack.

No one has claimed responsibility for the incident but authorities suspect the perpetrators are Islamic militants who had previously targeted other girls’ educational institutions.

Wednesday’s attack follows other attacks earlier this month when unidentified militants bombed two other girls’ schools in North Waziristan.

The region was once a stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a group that is a close ally of Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban leaders – although it remains a separate movement.

The Pakistani Taliban believe that women shouldn’t be educated and had orchestrated hundreds of attacks on girls’ schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province until their ousting in 2014 by Pakistan’s security forces, according to the Interpreter, a blog by the Australia-based think tank Lowy Institute.

The return of the Afghan Taliban to power in 2021 and their subsequent restrictions on women and girls pursuing education have emboldened the TPP to again enforce its creed in Pakistan’s tribal areas by force, analysts said.

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