Pakistan’s security forces have ended a bomb and gun attack on a university campus in north-west Pakistan, which has left at least 21 people dead and 60 injured.
Four attackers climbed over a back wall onto Bacha Khan University premises in Charsadda at around 09:30 local time (04:30 GMT) under the cover of thick fog.
The attackers were met by strong resistance from 50 armed and well trained security guards at the university, and an intense gun battle ensued.
Witnesses reported hearing the attackers chant “Allāhu Akbar” (“God is greatest”).
Armed local police officers were quick to react to the attack and soon closed in on the attackers, likely have a significant impact on keeping the casualty numbers relatively low.
AFP reports that Pakistan’s Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The attack followed a similar pattern to a previous Pakistani Taliban attack on a school in the city of Peshawar, 50km from Charsadda, in 2014, which left 130 students killed.
Today’s attack is the latest in a recent surge of violence by militant groups in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and raises questions about the effectiveness of Pakistan’s current strategy to reduce the power of groups like the Taliban.
In a statement quoted by Reuters news agency, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said:
“We are determined and resolved in our commitment to wipe out the menace of terrorism from our homeland.”