Taliban kill at least 19 in attack on Pakistani university

CHARSADDA, Pakistan - Taliban gunmen stormed a university in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing at least 19 people and triggering a heavy gunbattle with police and army troops who rushed to the scene in a town near the city of Peshawar, officials said.

See Full Article

The brazen assault harked back to a December 2014 Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar that killed more than 150 people, mostly children, and shocked the nation.

The attack began shortly after the Bacha Khan University opened for classes in the town of Charsadda, some 35 kilometres outside Peshawar, said Deputy Commissioner Tahir Zafar.

As police and soldiers rushed to the campus, the attackers traded gunfire with the troops and several explosions were heard from the area of the university. The attackers were later contained in two university blocks and the Pakistani army said four of them have been killed.

A chemistry professor and a student were among those killed, said Zafar, adding that it wasn't clear how many attackers were inside the campus. Television footage showed heavy military presence at the university, troops rushing in and people fleeing. Ambulances were at the scene and the wounded were being taken to hospital.

The attackers entered the university compound by climbing over back walls and shooting at a security guard before they made their way to the administration building and the male students' dorms, police official Saeed Khan Wazir said.

A witness, botany teacher Mohammad Ishtiaq, said he jumped out from the second floor of the building when he heard gunshots and broke his leg. Two attackers were on first floor and three on the ground floor, he said, adding that they were using automatic assault rifles. The students ran in different directions, he said.

"I locked myself in a washroom," he said. "I jumped out when I saw one of the attackers coming toward me and shooting straight ahead of him."

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to fight to the end and destroy the Taliban and other militants.

"We are determined and resolved in our commitment to wipe out the menace of terrorism from our homeland," Sharif was quoted on the website of the Daily Pakistan as saying in a statement.

A Taliban leader, Khalifa Umar Mansoor, claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack in a phone call to The Associated Press from an undisclosed location.

Mansoor, who was the mastermind mind the Peshawar school attack, said a four-man Taliban team carried out the assault in Chasadda. He said it was in revenge for the scores of militants the Pakistani security forces have killed in recent months. The main spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, Mohammad Khurasani, also reiterated the claim of responsibility.

The Bacha Khan University is named after the founder of a liberal, anti-Taliban political party. The Pakistani Taliban have in the past targeted the party for its anti-militant policies.

Pakistan's northwest and its lawless tribal regions bordering Afghanistan is a highly volatile region. Pakistani forces have been carrying out a major operation against the Taliban and other militants there since 2014.

Last month, as the country marked the first anniversary of the Peshawar school attack, the military claimed "phenomenal successes" in the war and said it has killed around 3,500 insurgents since launching the operation.

The school attack horrified the country and led the government to lift a 2008 moratorium on the death penalty. Pakistan hanged four militants last month who were sentenced to death over the attack.


Associated Press Writers Aasif Shahzad in Islamabad and Ishtiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, contributed to this report.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Another explosion injures 2 in Austin

    World News CTV News
    AUSTIN, Texas -- At least two people were injured in another explosion in Texas' capital Sunday night, after three package bombs detonated earlier this month in other parts of the city and killed two people and injured two others. Source
  • Boy shoots sister in video game controller dispute: police

    World News CTV News
    Authorities in Mississippi say a 9-year-old boy has shot his 13-year-old sister in the head and wounded her after an argument over a video game controller. Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell told local news outlets that the girl wouldn't give up the video game controller when her brother wanted it on Saturday. Source
  • Volunteers won't give up search for boy, 3, swept away in Ontario river

    Canada News CTV News
    Nearly one month after a little boy was swept away in an Ontario river, dozens of volunteers continue to search for him. Kaden Young, 3, was ripped from his mother’s arms after her minivan ended up in the swollen Grand River, near Orangeville, Ont. Source
  • Lawyer charges grieving family thousands for time spent responding to complaint against him

    Canada News CBC News
    A grieving daughter was blindsided when the lawyer hired to settle her father's estate charged thousands of dollars for time he spent responding to a complaint the family filed against him. But lawyers are not allowed to bill for hours spent responding to complaints, according to the Law Society of Ontario. Source
  • 2018 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremonies

    Canada News CBC News
    2018 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremonies LIVE0:00 Nearly 2,000 athletes from the circumpolar north have gathered in Hay River, Northwest Territories, for the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Arctic Winter Games Source
  • B.C. teachers' union to ask for higher salaries to help with shortages

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- The union representing British Columbia teachers will look to boost salaries, when their contract negotiations open later this year. B.C. Teachers' Federation president Glen Hansman told a crowd at the union's annual general meeting Saturday night that the province's low starting salaries mean that B.C. Source
  • Trump to unveil opioid plan that includes death penalty for drug dealers: White House

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump will unveil a plan Monday to combat the opioid addiction crisis that includes seeking the death penalty for drug dealers and urging Congress to toughen sentencing laws for drug traffickers, White House officials say. Source
  • Baby dies from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in Barrie, Ont.

    Canada News CTV News
    Police in Barrie, Ont., say a baby has died and his mother and sister are in hospital after a suspected carbon monoxide leak. Const. Sarah Bamford said that police responded to a 911 call from a frantic father at around 8:30 a.m. Source
  • Calgary siblings devastated after Arizona crash leaves their triplet sister dead

    Canada News CBC News
    A Canadian woman is among three people killed in a March 13 crash in Arizona that also left her husband in a coma. Patti Lou Doornbos — who goes by Lou — and Ron Doornbos, both 60, were on a sidewalk on their way to go hiking in Fountain Hills, about 50 kilometres northeast of Phoenix, when they were hit from behind by a Ford Explorer. Source
  • Florida bridge collapse: Out on errands, killed in an instant

    World News CTV News
    MIAMI -- They had just finished up lunch, and set off to run a humdrum errand: a drive to the travel agency to pick up airline tickets for their annual visit to their beloved homeland, Cuba. Source