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Pakistan university attacked: 19 killed by 'Taliban' gunmen

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for a gun attack on a university in Pakistan, killing at least 19 people.

Police and army officials exchanged gunfire with the attackers and several explosions were heard from the area of Bacha Khan University in the town of Charsadda, 20 miles from Peshawar.

Pakistani TV stations broadcast footage showing a heavy military presence at the university, troops rushing in and people fleeing. Ambulances were at the scene and the wounded were being taken to hospital.

Police official Tariq Khan said the assault began shortly after the university opened on Wednesday morning.

The Bacha Khan University is named after the founder of a liberal, anti-Taliban political party. The Pakistani Taliban has in the past targeted the party for its anti-militant policies.

The Pakistani army said the attackers have been contained and four of them have been killed.

The brazen assault harked back to a December 2014 Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar that killed more than 150 people, mostly children.

Deputy commissioner Tahir Zafar said a chemistry professor and at least one student were among those killed.

Pakistan's north west and its lawless tribal regions bordering Afghanistan is a highly volatile region. Pakistani forces have been carrying out a major operation against the Taliban and other militants there since 2014.

Last month, as the country marked the first anniversary of the Peshawar school attack, the military claimed "phenomenal successes" in the war and said it had killed around 3,500 insurgents since launching the operation.

The school attack, which was claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, horrified the country and led the government to lift a 2008 moratorium on the death penalty. Pakistan hanged four militants last month who were sentenced to death over the attack.

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