Taliban-Linked Militants Kill 19 at University in Pakistan

Updated on
  • Dead include two professors and six students; 18 injured
  • Taliban spokesman condemns the attack as "un-Islamic"

An ambulance carrying injured victims enters a hospital following an attack on the Bacha Khan university in Charsadda, Pakistan, on Jan. 20, 2016.

Photographer: Hasham Ahmed/AFP via Getty Images

At least 19 people were killed when Taliban-linked militants stormed a university in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday morning, reviving memories of the horrific 2014 attack on elementary school students.

Four gunmen who entered Bacha Khan University in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have been killed, military spokesman Asim Bajwa said on Twitter. The campus has been cleared, deputy superintendent of police Charsadda Raza Mohammad said by phone.

"Those killing innocent students have no faith and religion," Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s office said in a statement. "We are determined and resolved in our commitment to wipe out the menace of terrorism from our homeland."

Sharif’s government intensified efforts to clamp down on terrorism after a school attack in December 2014 that killed 134 students. The mastermind of that attack claimed responsibility for the strike on Wednesday, Dawn newspaper and other media outlets reported. The main Taliban group, known as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, condemned Wednesday’s attack.

"Mullah Fazlullah is completely unaware of this attack and expresses displeasure," TTP spokesman Mohammad Khorasani said in a statement posted on the group’s website, referring to the group’s leader. Action will be taken against those who use the Taliban’s name in this "un-Islamic" act, he said.

About five terrorists attacked the university, police officer Saeedullah Khan said. Victims include two professors and six students, Ramzan Chaudhry, spokesman for the provincial health minister, said by phone. Deputy commissioner Tahir Zafar Abbasi said 18 people have been injured.

About 1,100 students and 250 staff members were present on the campus, Jan Alam, an officer at the university, said by phone. The university is about 17 miles away from the provincial capital of Peshawar.

More than 60,000 people have been killed in terrorism-related violence in Pakistan since 2001.

— With assistance by Khurrum Anis

(Updates with Taliban's statement in fifth paragraph.)
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