Monday 28 May 2018

Pakistan university attack group leader threatens more terror

Security guards stand alert around schools and colleges following an attack on Bacha Khan University, in Peshawar, Pakistan. (AP)
Security guards stand alert around schools and colleges following an attack on Bacha Khan University, in Peshawar, Pakistan. (AP)
Sajjad Hussain,the brother of Hamid Hussain, holds Hamid's son Hashir Hussain (AP)

The head of a breakaway Taliban faction behind an attack at a north-western Pakistani university that killed 21 people has threatened to carry out more attacks on schools and universities.

Khalifa Umar Mansoor said in a video released on social media on Friday that the attack at the Bacha Khan university in the town of Charsadda was just the start. He said his group will hit the "evil democratic" system at its base.

Mansoor, the Charsadda attack mastermind, said Pakistan's educational institutions provide the future workforce for the military and the government - all of which work against the "will of God".

The video also shows the four attackers who are said to have carried out the university assault practising with assault rifles at an undisclosed location.

On Wednesday, Islamic militants stormed the Bacha Khan campus, gunning down students and teachers, and triggering a gun battle that lasted for hours before the four gunmen were killed.

The assault echoed the 2014 attack by the Taliban on an army-run school in the nearby city of Peshawar that left 150 dead, 144 of them children, and raised more questions about whether Pakistan's security forces can protect the country's educational institutions from extremists.

"Pakistan's evil democratic system, its military and political leadership have these educational institutions as their nurseries," Mansoor said. "It is from there they get their people, these institutions bear them fruit.

"We have decided to target schools, colleges and universities from now on. We will demolish the foundation of this evil system."

Mansoor said Pakistan's rulers are challenging the "will of God, instead of bowing before him despite repeated warning from Allah in the form of earthquakes, floods and tornadoes".

Although his group quickly took responsibility for the university attack, a spokesman for the larger Taliban organisation, led by Mullah Fazlullah, denied having anything to do with it and called it "un-Islamic".

Muhammad Khorasani, the Tehrik-e-Taliban spokesman, said the group also disowns Mansoor's organisation.

Press Association

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