Ustad Ahmad Farooq, al Qaeda’s spokesman for Pakistan, has issued a statement, addressed to his “beloved Pakistani brothers and sisters.” That statement says, in part,
Nobody spoke up for thousands of such Malalas who became victims of military operations, and nobody protested for them on the roads. But these circles made so much noise when we targeted this girl who made of fun of jihad, the veil and other Islamic values on behest of the British Broadcasting Corporation. … I may ask why? Why is Malala’s blood more important than those killed by the army? The attack on Malala has been termed a national tragedy, but no one pays any attention when…the army targets gems of the Ummah who come to Khorasan to wage jihad from Arab lands and other places of world. Why these double standards?
I’ll ignore the…inaccuracy…of the BBC’s role in Malala Yousufzai’s push for educating herself and educating other girls, and women, generally.
Threat Matrix (the above link) also cites SITE Intelligence Group‘s translation of Farooq’s statement as including Farooq’s “puzzlement” over why “these circles” ignore women who die due to poverty and those women (and children) killed during military operations.
In civilized nations, though (and here I include Pakistan), the people and their governments work hard to alleviate that poverty so that all—women, children, men—can lead safer, more confortable lives. In civilized nations, the people, their military, and their governments work very hard to minimize deaths from collateral damage, as well as work very hard to minimize collateral damage to real estate and other facilities when battles are fought. They mourn the deaths, they hold accountable those responsible for the collateral damage and deaths that could have been avoided with more careful targeting.
These are accidental, and they are generally within our power to minimize, if not to avoid altogether. They are not the result of deliberate acts.
But al Qaeda (in Pakistan, and everywhere else) insists, through Farooq, that the deliberate murder of a particular child, on the one hand, is of a piece with these accidents and conditions that civilized peoples work tirelessly to alleviate, and on the other hand is entirely justifiable as a deliberate act. Al Qaeda insists, through Farooq, that those who “come to Khorasan to wage jihad”—that is who go to Khorasan for training in the techniques of murdering the Mulalas and any other innocents they can reach, for training in the mass murder of Americans, Spanish, British, Pakistanis, Afghanis, of anyone—are not legitimate targets: we are not to defend ourselves.
Can any civilized person have any doubt left that al Qaeda—that terrorist gangs everywhere—must be destroyed?