University attackers came from Afghanistan, says Pakistan

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University attackers came from Afghanistan, says Pakistan
Pakistani army spokesman Lt. Gen Asim Salim Bajwa addresses a news conference in Peshawar.

Islamabad - Military arrests suspected facilitators, says they secured accommodation for the assailants.

By Afzal Khan

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Published: Sat 23 Jan 2016, 5:18 PM

Last updated: Sun 24 Jan 2016, 1:01 AM

Releasing more details of the January 20 terrorist attack on Bacha Khan University, Charsadda, a military spokesman on Saturday insisted that four terrorists had come from Afghanistan and their handler made 10 calls from across the border.
Briefing newsmen, Director-General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lieutenant-General Asim Bajwa also produced alleged facilitators before the Press and played a recording of the calls made from Afghanistan.
He said one of the facilitators received the assailants at Torkham check-post on the Afghan-Pakistan border and kept them in two houses near the university in Charsadda.They were also taken to the university prior to the appointed date. The wife and niece of one of the facilitators were sent to Adamkhel pass for purchasing arms and smuggling under cover of their veils.
He said the handler Umar who made the calls from Afghanistan, later also spoke to a Pakistani journalist on telephone taking credit for the university carnage.
The Press conference began with a recorded telephone conversation between the ‘terrorists and a reporter’ with the attackers claiming responsibility for the attack.
The reporter was receiving the call on a Pakistani phone while the call came from an Afghan phone and an Afghan SIM, according to the DG ISPR who said, “This attack involved four terrorists, all of whom were killed, and four accomplices.”
Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa also presented a map of Mardan and Charsadda showing the movement of the attackers. He said the terrorists completed their preparations near the Torkham check-post area in Afghanistan and they crossed the border using public transport into Mardan, looking like regular people.
“After entering Mardan, these terrorists were received by two facilitators Adil and Riaz,” the DG ISPR said while showing the location of the ‘two men’s houses/hideouts on the Mardan-Charsadda road, where the terrorists were kept’.
“Adil is a mystery. A few days ago he was doing some masonry work in the university, and made a map of the university so he could explain to the rest for the attack. So he participated in planning. And Adil is the one who helped the attackers figure out their way into the university through sugarcane fields.”
The DG ISPR said that progress has also been made in identifying the finance trail which he said will be shared once the investigation is complete. “We have come to the conclusion that terrorism cannot be fought while there are accomplices and facilitators,” Lt-Gen Bajwa said, adding “terrorism is a problem being faced by the whole world, but all societies play their own role”.
He also requested society to be aware of surroundings. “All institutions must play their part, all societies must play their part.”
Responding to a question, the DG ISPR said that at no point had the Afghan government been blamed for the attack. “We only said that the attacked was planned and handled from Afghan soil.”
Answering another question regarding the Pak-Afghan border, he said “border management is an issue. The border management issue is brought up every time we have a meeting with Afghanistan. We have to work on it.”
“Even developed countries like the United States face these challenges — look at the US-Mexico border. Our border management will improve with time, we are working on it. We are also talking to people in tribal areas and asking them to remain vigilant.”
The January 20 attack was claimed by mastermind of the APS Peshawar attack, Umar Mansoor, of the banned Tehreek-i-Taleban Pakistan’s (TTP) Geedar group.
A TTP spokesperson, Mohammed Khorasani, on the other hand had issued a conflicting statement shortly after Mansoor’s claim, in which Khorasani condemned the attack, terming it “against Shariah”.
Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif later telephoned Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and shared with him investigation details of the BKU attack and also asked him to help in tracing the attackers.
General Raheel also shared the details of the attack with Afghan chief executive Abdullah Abdullah and commander of Resolute Support Mission and United States Forces in Afghanistan Gen John Campbell.
Earlier on Saturday, Chief or Army Staff General Raheel Sharif chaired a ‘special security meeting’ at the Corps Headquarters, Peshawar, according to a statement issued by Director-General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lieutenant-General Asim Bajwa.
The meeting reviewed operations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) as well as the ‘Intelligence Based Operations’ (IBOs), Pak-Afghan border management and the progress into the attack on the Bacha Khan University.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who was in Davos for the World Economic Forum regularly spoke to the army chief to discuss the Attack. He has convened a special meeting of top aides on Monday to review the progress in the National Action Plan worked out a year ago at an all-party conference.

Four suspects arrested for facilitating Taleban militants in the January 20 attack on Bacha Khan university.
Four suspects arrested for facilitating Taleban militants in the January 20 attack on Bacha Khan university.

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