Police in Pakistan say the death toll from a January 20 Taliban attack on a university in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province has risen to at least 21, including students and staff, and that their operation against the militants has come to an end.
Regional police chief Saeed Wazir said most of the student victims were shot dead at a hostel for boys on the Bacha Khan University campus in Charsadda, about 17 kilometers northeast of the provincial capital Peshawar.
Wazir did not specify whether the death toll included four gunmen that Pakistan's army said it had killed.
Two large explosions also were heard at the university during the battle, which began in the early morning when militants opened fire on students and teachers at the computer science and management sciences facilities.
Pakistan's Taliban, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the attack
A provincial official at the scene of the violence, Shaukat Yousufzai, said at least 50 people were injured.
Earlier reports said many female students had been trapped inside a school building.
But as Pakistani military helicopters flew overhead and troops in armored personnel carriers were deployed at the university, live images broadcast on Pakistani television showed a large group of female students fleeing from the fighting.
Fazlur Rahim Marwat, the vice-chancellor or head of the university, told RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal that about 3,000 students are enrolled at the school.
He said the university also employs about 600 teachers and staff.
The violence comes as Pakistani military forces continue a campaign against Pakistani Taliban and other militants in tribal areas neighboring Pakhtunkhwa Province and Afghanistan.
An attack in December 2014 by Taliban militants on a school for children of Pakistani military forces killed 144 students and staff.
With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP