19 killed, 17 injured

The BBC:

Security forces have ended a gun and bomb attack on a university in north-west Pakistan in which 19 people were killed and 17 injured.

Four suspected attackers also died in a battle that lasted nearly three hours at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda.

One Pakistani Taliban commander said the group had carried out the assault, but its main spokesman denied this.

Someone should claim it. If people don’t know who did it, how can they submit to the demands?

One student told television reporters he was in class when he heard gunshots: “We saw three terrorists shouting, ‘God is great!’ and rushing towards the stairs of our department.

“One student jumped out of the classroom through the window. We never saw him get up.”

Reports say a chemistry lecturer, named by media as Syed Hamid Husain, shot back at the gunmen to allow his students to flee, before he was killed.

Well at least they shouted “Allahu akbar,” so I guess that’s enough of a demand to be going on with. Be more submissive to Allah would be the gist of it, so the targets can try that, pending further information.

The BBC’s M Ilyas Khan has some analysis at the end of the story.

There have been conflicting claims about who could be involved in the attack, a sign of the kaleidoscopic mix of militant networks evolving along the Pakistan-Afghan border region in the north.

The attack comes amid a sudden spike in militant violence in Pakistan, after a year of relative peace and quiet largely attributed to a 2014 military operation against militant sanctuaries in Waziristan. Questions are now being raised over whether that operation really destroyed the ability of militants to regroup and strike at will.

Well it’s like the Paris massacres, and the one in San Bernardino. Most targets are soft targets, and there’s no way to change that without an unimaginable and unaffordable level of militarization. It would be nice if people would just stop wanting to murder random others to make a point.

About 3,000 students are enrolled at Bacha Khan, but hundreds of visitors were also expected on Wednesday for a poetry event.

There is a symbolic value attached to Bacha Khan University as it is named after a Pashtun nationalist leader who believed in non-violent struggle, says BBC Urdu’s Asad Ali Chaudry.

The title of Wednesday’s poetry programme in his honour was “peace”, he adds.

So much for that idea.

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