WASHINGTON, December 17 (Sputnik) — Exacting a revenge on Pakistan's military cannot justify the Taliban attack on an army-run school which killed around 130, international human rights groups said.
"Pakistan army attack on militants is NO justification for Taliban attack on schoolchildren," Executive Director of Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth said on Twitter Tuesday.
In another tweet, Roth added that "Whether in Pakistan or Nigeria, you know group has no future when it's terrified of children receiving an education."
A Taliban spokesman claimed that the Tuesday attack against the school, which is operated by Pakistan's military, was in retaliation for recent army operations against militants in the northwest tribal areas, a line of reasoning that was also rejected by Amnesty International.
"There can be absolutely no justification for targeting children in this way," Amnesty International's Deputy Director for Asia-Pacific David Griffith said.
Griffith also called the act "unconscionable," and "a grave reminder that civilians in northwest Pakistan desperately need effective protection from militant groups."
Other condemnations came from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Anthony Lake, who described the event as a "horrific, callous killing," that would "shock the conscience of the world."
"It must also summon us, all the more, to support the parents of Pakistan who wish for their children the best possible education – and all those who are working to provide it," Lake added.
Uday Bhaskar, a security expert, told Sputnik that over the past 20 years Pakistan has developed a cultural acceptance of militant groups which use religion to justify their terrorist attacks.
The Taliban have targeted students in Pakistan on numerous occasions, but Tuesday's attack, which killed around 130 people, most of them children, is by far their deadliest assault on a school, according to Amnesty International.