Taliban terrorists stormed into the Bacha Khan University in Pakistan’s northwest Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa province on Wednesday morning. At least 25 people are dead in the brutal attack and over 50 people are said to be injured.
4 heavily-armed terrorists entered the campus and opened fire on students and teachers in classrooms and hostels. Blasts and heavy gunfire was also heard from inside the University campus.
To counter the terrorists, a large contingent of security forces including Pakistani Army troops had to rush to the site to evacuate the students. Forces eventually gunned down the 4 terrorists.
“Snipers killed 2 more terrorists on roof top, total Terrorist killed so far 4. All buildings & roof top taken over by Army… Clearance of university block by block continues by Army troops,” Army spokesman Lt Gen Asim Salim Bajwa tweeted.
Later in the day, the Army revealed that operation was over and all the terrorists were killed by the forces. However the sanitation process was underway as Army helicopters were hovering over the University.
Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif had also rushed to the spot along with Corps Commander Peshawar and other top military officials. They were briefed immediately briefed about the operation.
According to the police the terrorists scaled the walls of the University and the thick fog provided them a good cover. Reports said that the dead included students, guards, policemen and at least one teacher.
Dr Fazal Rahim, the Chancellor of the University said there were over 3,000 students inside the campus when the attack happened. Another 600 guests were also present for a poetic symposium to mark the death anniversary of independence activist Bacha Khan.
An emergency has been declared in all the hospitals in the area as scores of injured were being rushed to them. All schools have also been ordered shut as a precautionary measure.
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was carried out by four attackers.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is said to be personally monitoring the situation and is being updated about the latest developments, his spokesman said.
Both President Mamnoon Hussain and PM Sharif have condemned the attack.
“The government is committed to eliminate them,” PM Sharif said while expressing sorrow at the loss of lives in the attack.
Several other leaders including chief ministers of Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh condemned the attack.
“Such cowardice attack could not shake the resolve of the Government in the fight against terrorism,” Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf Party leader and provincial lawmaker Shaukat Yousafzai said.
The University is in Charsadda district, some 50 kms southwest of Peshawar.
In December 2014, the Taliban massacred over 150 people, mostly students, in an attack on an army-run school in Peshawar.
(With inputs from agencies)