By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — The United States has said it “strongly condemns” the attack by the Pakistani Taliban on an agriculture university in Peshawar that killed 12 people and injured 35 others.
The State Department on December 1 said that “we offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims, and wish a speedy recovery to those injured in the attack” on the Peshawar Agriculture Training Institute.
“We stand with the people and government of Pakistan, and we will continue to work with our partners in Pakistan and across the region to combat the threat of terrorism,” it added.
The Pakistani Taliban — Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) — claimed responsibility for the December 1 attack on the agriculture institute that started when three gunmen dressed in all-enveloping burqas stormed the campus.
TTP spokesman Mohammad Khorasani said in a message that the attackers had targeted a safe house of the military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.
Police and army troops summoned to the scene killed all three attackers during a firefight at the complex some two hours into the attack, the military’s press service said.
December 1 is a public holiday in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, commemorating Islam’s prophet Muhammad, meaning relatively few students and others were at the usually crowded complex.
The gunmen arrived at the campus in an auto-rickshaw and disguised in the burqas worn by many women in the region, Peshawar police chief Tahir Khan said.
They shot and wounded a guard before entering the campus, he said.
In December 2014, TTP gunmen killed 134 children at Peshawar’s Army Public School, one of the single deadliest attacks in the country’s history.
The Pakistani Taliban are fighting to topple the government and install a strict interpretation of Islamic law. They are loosely allied with the Afghan Taliban insurgents.