The Latest: Taliban spokesman disowns university attack

AP News
|
Posted: Jan 20, 2016 7:29 AM
The Latest: Taliban spokesman disowns university attack

CHARSADDA, Pakistan (AP) — The latest developments in a Taliban attack on university in northwestern Pakistan that killed 20 and triggered an hours-long gunbattle with the army and police before the assault ended. All times local.

5:15 p.m.

A spokesman for the main Taliban faction in Pakistan has disowned the group behind a deadly attack on a university in a northwestern town near the city of Peshawar that killed 20 people.

The spokesman, Mohammad Khurasani, says Wednesday's attack was "un-Islamic" and insists the Pakistani Taliban were not behind it. Such statements from among the Taliban are not uncommon since the group has many loosely linked factions.

Khurasani, who also denied earlier reports that he had endorsed the Taliban claim by militant leader Khalifa Umar Mansoor, says that those who carry out such attacks should be tried before an Islamic, or Sharia court.

Khurasani says that the Taliban "consider the students in the non-military institutions the future of our jihad movement" and would not kill our potential future followers.

He also says Mullah Fazlullah, the head of the Pakistani Taliban had nothing to do with the attack.

___

3:30 p.m.

A Pakistani official says the army and police have finished their operation to clear Taliban gunmen following an attack on a university campus in the country's northwest. Twenty people have died in the assault.

Provincial governor Sardar Mehtab Abbasi says Wednesday's attack is now over and that the troops have cleared the campus. Four attackers have been killed.

Deputy Commissioner Tahir Zafar says the attack began shortly after the Bacha Khan University opened for classes in the town of Charsadda, some 35 kilometers (21 miles) outside Peshawar.

After the attack, Pakistani army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif visited the university and the wounded in hospital.

___

2:15 p.m.

The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a university in a town near the city of Peshawar in the country's northwest.

A Taliban leader, Khalifa Umar Mansoor, made the claim in a phone call to The Associated Press from an undisclosed location.

Mansoor was the mastermind mind the December 2014 attack on an army-run school that killed over 150 people, 144 of them children.

Mansoor says his four-man team conducted the assault at the campus in the town of Chasadda. He says 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.

___

1:50 p.m.

Pakistan's prime minister has vowed to fight to the end and destroy "the menace of terrorism" as a major battle is unfolding in the country's northwest.

Gunmen stormed a university campus in the northwestern town of Chasadda, near the city of Pershawar, killing at least 19 people. The attack triggered a gunbattle with police and army troops, which were quickly deployed to the scene on Wednesday.

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

___

1 p.m.

Pakistani officials say the death toll from a brazen attack on a university in the country's northwest has risen to 19, with several people wounded.

Deputy Commissioner Tahir Zafar says the attack began shortly after the Bacha Khan University opened for classes on Wednesday in Charsadda town, some 35 kilometers (21 miles) outside the city of Peshawar.

Heavy police and military forces were deployed to the area, and a gunbattle is underway. Hospital official Sher Akbar Khan says the hospital has received 19 bodies so far.

Pakistani army says the attackers have been contained and that four of them have been killed.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

A Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar in December 2014 killed over 150 people, mostly children.