Weather Saved Climbers From Taliban Massacre

More details of Pakistan attack emerge

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 25, 2013 2:36 AM CDT

(Newser) – The death toll in the Pakistani Taliban's massacre of mountain climbers would have been a lot higher if the weather had been worse, the Wall Street Journal finds. Two parties of climbers had already departed the base camp at the edge of the Himalayas before the Taliban attacked, killing 10 foreign tourists and a Pakistani guide. The victims—including one American, two Chinese, three Ukrainians, one Lithuanian, and one Nepalese—were robbed, blindfolded, and forced to kneel before they were shot.

Adventure tourism was one of the few bright spots in Pakistan's struggling tourist industry, but expeditions have now been halted. "This situation changes our thinking about the world," says a Polish climber who heard gunfire from his camp on the side of Nanga Parbat, the world's ninth-highest mountain. "No one kills climbers. Local bandits think, 'These guys are crazy.' Maybe they rob them, but they leave them alone." The Taliban says the attack was carried out by a new faction created to avenge drone strikes, the BBC reports.

Members of the Pakistan Association of Tour Operators light candles in memory of foreign tourists killed by Islamic militants.
Members of the Pakistan Association of Tour Operators light candles in memory of foreign tourists killed by Islamic militants.   (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world, is seen from Karakorum Highway leading to neighboring China in Pakistan's northern area. The attack took place at the mountain's base camp.
Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world, is seen from Karakorum Highway leading to neighboring China in Pakistan's northern area. The attack took place at the mountain's base camp.   (AP Photo/Musaf Zaman Kazmi, File)
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