Taliban threat to launch more attacks on Pakistani schools and colleges
On a day panic gripped a Pakistani town after shots were heard near a state-run girls’ school, a senior Pakistani Taliban commander released a video warning Islamabad of more terrorist attacks on schools and colleges.
Friday’s video showed four militants who, it claimed, carried out the attack on Bacha Khan University in Charsadda early Wednesday killing 21 people, many of them boys of a hostel located in the campus.
The video footage pointed to a possible split in the fractured Taliban leadership.
While Taliban’s official spokesman Mohammad Khorasani had denied the group’s role hours after the attack on the university, the commander of its faction Umar Mansoor said his fighters had targeted the campus because it prepared students to join the government and army.
Mansoor is considered close to Mullah Fazlullah, the embattled leader of the fractious Pakistan Taliban group.
“Now we will not kill the soldier in his cantonment, the lawyer in the court or the politician in parliament but in the places where they are prepared, the schools, the universities, the colleges that lay their foundation,” a bearded Mansoor said in the video, holding an admonishing finger aloft.
“With the mercy of god, our attacks on all universities and schools will continue,” he said.
The video also showed four attackers, two of them in their mid-teens, practising shooting as part of their training before carrying out the Charsadda attack.
Earlier in the day, firing was reported near a government-run girls’ school in Faisalabad.
The incident caused panic among parents who rushed to the school to save their children.
DawnNews showed footage of a large crowd gathered outside the gate of the school.
The principal of the school also called law-enforcement agencies, and a police contingent arrived at the school to take stock of the situation.
Parents and students have been on the edge after the terror attack in Charsadda, which brought back memories of the tragic APS Peshawar attack.
On Thursday, civilian security forces conducted a mock counter-terrorism drill at the Punjab University, which spread panic as most of the students were unaware of the drill being conducted.
At least 60 people have been killed in various terror attacks in Pakistan since the start of 2016.