The school had closed months ago, but that apparently wasn’t enough. From Compass Direct News, October 14:
ISTANBUL, October 14 (Compass Direct News) — Taliban militants bombed a Catholic-run girls” school in Pakistan’s war-torn Swat Valley as part of a larger effort to subvert women’s status in society through Islamic law, locals say.
On Wednesday (Oct. 8) the Islamic terrorist group bombed the Convent Girls” School in Sangota, run by the Presentation Sisters, a Catholic religious order that has opened girls” schools around the world. Militants have threatened the school frequently for offering education to females.
No one was injured in the attack. The school had closed a few months earlier due to deteriorating security in Swat, a source told Compass. Students and faculty left in July following threats.
“The Taliban said, “˜We have asked you so many times to close down the school but you are not listening. We are going to set it on fire,– said Yousef Benjamin, a Lahore-based peace activist.
Militants had already attacked or blown up and forced the closure of many girls” schools in Swat, said Cecil Chaudhry, executive secretary of All Pakistan Minorities Alliance. They told the nuns they would destroy their school if it weren’t closed. Following the bombing the militants ransacked the school’s adjoining convent.
The high school enrolled approximately 1,000 female students, nearly 95 percent of them Muslim.
The Santoga school has faced threats from Islamic extremists before. It closed its doors in September 2007 after received a threatening letter from extremists that demanded all teachers and female students wear the burqa. The letter claimed the faculty was working to convert Muslim students to Christianity.
The Taliban has not singled out the school for its Christian ties but instead wants to clamp down on all girls” schools, which they believe encourage female participation in society, government officials claim.
In the last two years it has indiscriminately targeted more than 150 public and private girls” schools in northwest Pakistan.
“For them it doesn’t matter if it’s a Christian school, government school or a private school,” Benjamin said. “Last week I was in [the northern city of] Peshawer and the Taliban told women to not even go to the market.” […]
Located near the Afghanistan border, Swat has been a flash point between the country”s security forces and Islamic militants. The area used to be a thriving tourist haven with hotels and a ski resort but came under complete control of Taliban militants in September 2007.
Government security forces cleared out the Taliban from the valley in recent months, but the area came under their control once again three weeks ago.
With their re-asserted control, the Taliban has forced all Swat residents to live according to their strict lifestyle guidelines, whether Muslim or Christian.
Men have grown beards and adopted Islamic dress. Women are required to wear burqas and sit in the back seat of their own vehicles. Advertisements cannot feature pictures of women. […]
The 70 or so Christian families scattered in the valley occupy the lower class, working as laborers and street sweepers.