Initial probe reveals, attackers were operating from Afghanistan: FO


ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office said on Thursday it is too early to draw conclusions regarding who was behind the deadly attack on Bacha Khan University in Charsadda.


“It is premature to draw any conclusion as to who may be behind the Charsada university attack before investigations are complete,” Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah said.

Speaking at the weekly briefing in Islamabad, Khalilullah said, “Pakistan strongly condemns the attack on Bacha Khan University in which at least 21 people lost their lives.”

“Initial investigations reveal that attackers were in contact with their handlers reportedly operating from Afghanistan” Khalilullah said.

Islamabad is likely to renew its demand from Kabul to eliminate TTP’s sanctuaries from Afghan soil, he added.

Following the attack on the state-run university, the chief military spokesperson said on Wednesday the Bacha Khan University attackers were in touch with their handlers in Afghanistan during the assault. “The attackers were in touch with a number from Afghanistan,” Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, the director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), told a news briefing in Peshawar. Lt Gen Bajwa said the SIMs used in the phones were of Afghan origin. He added that a mobile phone recovered from one of the attackers was receiving calls even after he had been killed.

Four terrorists, armed with sub-machine guns, pistols and hand grenades, launched the attack around 8:45 when the campus was enveloped in thick morning fog. According to eyewitnesses and officials, the terrorists scaled the back wall of the campus and entered the guest house of the vice chancellor where they shot dead assistant caretaker Fakhre Alam.

A splinter group of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed credit for the sickening violence at the Bacha Khan University in the Palosa area, 15 kilometres southeast of the main Charsadda Bazaar, though the fugitive leadership of the umbrella group denied involvement.

Pakistan, India talks

Responding to a question regarding Pakistan-India talks, Khalilullah said Pakistan and India were in contact with each other to finalise dates for foreign secretary level talks.

“Talks were scheduled to take place in Islamabad on January 15, but following the recent Pathankot air base attack in India, both sides agreed to reschedule the talks in order to spend more time on the progress of the investigation.”

Referring to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Iran this week, Khalilullah said, “The main purpose of the visit was to defuse tensions between the two countries.”