Gunmen kill at least 22 at university in Pakistan

At least 22 people were killed and many more wounded when militants attacked a university campus in

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — At least 22 people were killed and many more wounded when militants attacked a university campus in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, a police official said.

A leader of the Pakistani Taliban said the group claimed responsibility for the attack, among the most brazen in a long insurgency it has waged against authorities here that has targeted educational institutions in particular.

The site of Wednesday’s assault, Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, was just 25 miles from a school in Peshawar where the Pakistani Taliban killed 145 people, most of them children, in 2014. Two years earlier, the group shot Malala Yousafzai, the teenage activist for girls’ rights and then future Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

The Taliban have been weakened recently in Pakistan after the military launched an offensive in their main haven of North Waziristan, but the attack and a suicide bombing Tuesday that killed 11 people together showed that they were still a dangerous force.

Under a heavy fog Wednesday, gunmen scaled the rear walls of the university around 9 a.m., firing into the air, witnesses said.

Security forces killed the attackers before they could detonate suicide vests, said Saeed Wazir, the Charsadda police chief.

The dead included students, a senior faculty member and four guards, said Fakhr-i-Alam, a senior government official. At least 19 people were wounded. A Pakistani military spokesman, Lt. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa, said that at least four attackers had been killed in exchanges of fire with the security forces.

Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, condemned the attack. “We are determined and resolved in our commitment to wipe out the menace of terrorism from our homeland,” he said in a statement from Switzerland, where he was attending the World Economic Forum. “The countless sacrifices made by our countrymen will not go in vain, inshallah.”

Raza Mohammed Khan, deputy superintendent of the police in Charsadda, said that all four attackers had been killed and that no more militants remained inside the university.

“Bomb disposal people are on the spot defusing suicide vests,” Fakhr-i-Alam said. “The operation is over; clearance and search is on.”

Khalifa Umar Mansoor, a Pakistani Taliban leader, called reporters in Peshawar to claim responsibility for the attack and to say that four of their men were involved. He said the assault was in response for the execution in December of four men convicted of aiding the 2014 Peshawar school attackers.

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