news of the killings at NP has been broadcast around the world and shattered the scenario that climbers were effectively left out of the troubles in Pakistan. the event was intentional, targeting both foreigners and the industry at supports them, which is, face it, aside from drug smuggling and mercenaries, about the only interface foreigners have with Pakistan anymore. the event has been claimed by a Pakistani Taliban group, something thats a bit hazy to define, but encompasses the ‘usual’ brigandry and secular killing that has always gone on in the region.
what sucks is that those killed were amongst the few foreigners still willing to give Pakistan a chance, support the economy, and retain the only link the world has (had) with Pakistan that isnt about terrorism.
what sucks most of all, is that the one local killed was a friend, Ali Hussain from Hushe. aside from the months spent out on the Baltoro where he worked as a HAP and in the kitchen generally running things, Ali was the guy who got us back to Askole during the rains that were destroying the country, thru 3 drenching days down the glacier. despite the chaos of all that, he stayed on in Askole to get late arriving foreigners out. following that trip Ali became our logistics guy in the area, helping ICJ to arrange other trips to the region, something ICJ fostered because Ali himself supported a school in Hushe. employing Ali went well beyond climbing.
Ali Hussain. photo nicked from the BBC. click to link to the article
according to reports Ali was murdered in part because he was Shia, and also because he worked with foreigners. it may be too that he was killed because he supported a school that taught girls – something the Taliban group who claimed responsability openly target.
Ali (wearing red hat). Photo: Tom Wan