NEWS | 20 Killed in a Terror Attack at Bacha Khan University, Pakistan
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NEWS | 20 Killed in a Terror Attack at Bacha Khan University, Pakistan

Militants stormed Bacha Khan University campus in Charsadda, northwestern Pakistan, shooting students in their sleep during an assault that left at least 20 people dead and more than 50 others wounded.

NEWS | Terror Attack at Bacha Khan University : 20 Killed

The early morning attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province revived memories of a December 2014 assault on an army-run school in the provincial capital, Peshawar, in which 144 students and staff were killed.

The alleged mastermind of the 2014 attack claimed that his splinter group of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Pakistan's Taliban, was responsible for the January 20 assault on Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, 17 kilometers northeast of Peshawar.

A TTP spokesman condemned the attack as “un-Islamic.”

NEWS | Terror Attack at Bacha Khan University : 20 Killed

Intense gunfire and several explosions were heard as security guards fought the attackers, who apparently climbed over a university wall under cover of thick winter fog.

Regional police chief Saeed Wazir said most of the student victims were shot dead at a hostel for boys on the campus. At least one university teacher was also among the dead.

The army said it had concluded operations to clear the Bacha Khan University campus six hours after the attack began and that four gunmen were killed.

It was unclear whether the death toll included the four militants.
Muhammad Khorasani, a spokesman for the TTP’s central leadership, condemned the attack in an e-mail sent to RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal. He said the group does not target civilian schools.

"TTP strongly condemns today's attack and disassociates itself completely from this un-Islamic attack," Khorasani also said on Twitter.

Bacha Khan University, established in 2012, is named after Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, also known as Bacha Khan, the leader of a nonviolent Pashtun movement.

The attack occurred on the 28th anniversary of his death.

 Image Attribute: General Raheel Sharif reached Charsadda after  Bacha Khan University Attack,  / Source: Twitter

 Image Attribute: General Raheel Sharif reached Charsadda after  Bacha Khan University Attack, 
/ Source: Twitter

In the 1930s, Khan launched the Khudai Khidmatgar Movement (Servants of God) to reform the stagnant Pashtun society and to mobilize Pashtuns to struggle for their rights against British imperial rule in the Indian subcontinent through peaceful agitation.

Fazli Rahim Marwat, a teacher at the university, told RFE/RL that about 3,000 students are enrolled at the school.

He said the university also employs about 600 teachers and staff.

The violence comes as Pakistani military forces continue a campaign against Pakistani Taliban and other militants in tribal areas neighboring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and Afghanistan.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.