The news is just in. The taliban have launched an assault against a Pakistani school, killing over 140 people, of which over 100 were children. I boggles the mind.
So why did they do it? Someone, somewhere thought this was a grand idea. That person or persons must have had a reason to think so. And given the extreme nature of the assault, the underlying justification was likely to be extreme as well. What extreme factors contributed to such a decision?
Vox offers three possible explanations. It may be revenge for the recent Pakistani military attacks against them. It may be a message that the taliban is still a force to be reckoned with. Or it may be the result of a power struggle between taliban factions.
Underlying all three possible explanations is a rather stark common thread. At least some continue to believe that they can gain by committing atrocities. In other words, this was a calculated gambit, not the result of an accident.
To end this type of tragedy, I believe that we need to change the decision matrix that produces this type of decision. So far, this has meant “fighting fire with fire”. We might keep in mind that this is a tactic, not a strategy.