From temple of wisdom to soft terror targets, educational institutes face the line of fire

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The second attack on an temple of wisdom in Pakistan has got us thinking why the most vulnerable of the social set-up are increasingly being targeted. In fact, experts believe that terrorist attacks on schools have soared in the past 10 years.

According to Global terrorism database, South Asia reports 1,147 attacks on school in 2013, Middle East and North America reported 284, Southeast Asia 271 and Sub Saharan Africa 119. In fact, between 2004-2013, Pakistan reported the highest number of attacks with 724, Iraq 184, Afghanistan 205, and Thailand 213.

Bacha Khan university

According to the University of Maryland's Global Terrorism Database, more than 125,000 terrorist attacks around the world have been reported since 1970.

Since 2004, there has been a sharp rise in the attack on schools, starting the one in Beslan in Russia which claimed the lives of 334 people, including 186 children.

[Read: Bacha Khan University terror attack: Indian schools yet to implement safety guidelines]

The Peshawar attack in 2014 painted a gruesome picture of the latest strategies of terrorism. Attacks on public places were not powerful anymore since attacks on schools and universities sent out a symbolical message, ensuring that the root of enlightenment is blocked.

There is one more reason, as the Pakistani Taliban claimed,"We selected the army's school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females." "We want them to feel our pain."

But does that remain contained to revenge alone?

Curbing the western influence

Consider Nigeria's Boko Haram, whose openly condemns the Western influence on education. And to make a point, it conducted the largest attack on a school and abducted close to 300 school girls and forced them into marriage. Justifying their action, they even said that targeting schools was their religious duty and they intend to continue with it.

[Read:Live: Pakistan attack: Death toll mounts to 21, TTP claims responsibility]

The trend shows that extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan in South Asia, and the Middle East who have been largely driving the growth in terror attacks on schools. In a 2013 paper in the 'Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology', Emma Bradford and Margaret A. Wilson of the University of Liverpool's Department of Applied Psychology identified the possible motivations of targetting schools as- symbolic value, media coverage, and the simple ease of inflicting irreversible damage to a target affiliated with the government.

Bacha Khan university

But does that serve a purpose or is it pushing the idea of jihad and Islamic ideas further into darker zones? That is yet to be realised by the terror masterminds

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