Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today strongly condemned the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, that news reports say left more than 140 people dead, including more than 130 children.
"On behalf of all the men and women of the U.S. Defense Department, I extend our deepest condolences to the people of Pakistan following today's ruthless attack on the army public school in Peshawar,” the secretary said in a statement. “This heartless slaughter of over 100 innocent students and teachers was an act of pure cowardice. The United States remains committed to supporting Pakistan in its efforts to combat extremism and ensure stability in the region.
“As we stand firm with the Pakistani people and military in their fight against terrorists,” he continued, “we also honor their sacrifices, and join the victims' families and loved ones in their mourning."
Officials of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan also issued a statement condemning the attack.
“The barbaric actions of the Taliban illustrate their lack of value for human life and lack of respect for the Islamic faith,” the ISAF statement said. “These attacks only prove their selfish desire for power and willingness to murder to reach their self-serving goals.”
The statement expressed condolences to the families of those killed and wounded, as well as confidence that Pakistani authorities will work tirelessly to seek justice for the families and hold those behind the attack accountable for their atrocities.