Pakistani security agencies on Saturday, January 23, arrested five out of six men accused of being the masterminds behind the attack on a Bacha Khan university that killed 21 people.
"The five facilitators have been arrested and the another one, whom I will call terrorist-A is still at large," military spokesman Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa told a televised press conference in Peshawar.
According to the officer, "terrorist-A" arranged transportation for the four gunmen who travelled from Torkhum town, which borders Afghanistan. The suspects also secured accommodation for the assailants and provided them with a rickshaw that they used on the day of the attack. They also helped purchase their weapons in the country's tribal belt and relied on women close to the accused to help smuggle guns.
"Women wearing traditional veils do not usually undergo a routine body search at the checkpoints," said Bajwa.
He went on to confirm that authorities suspect the assault on the university was planned and directed by militant groups residing in Afghanistan, adding that one of the organisers had made as many as 10 calls to the attackers on a mobile phone that had an Afghan SIM card.
On Wednesday January 20, four gunmen armed with suicide bomb vests attacked the university located 21 miles outside the city of Peshawar. Under a thick fog, the militants scaled the wall of the university, entered a classroom and opened fire on students and teachers.
The assault was later claimed by a faction of the Pakistani Taleban and bore a chilling resemblance to a December 2014 massacre at a school in Peshawar that killed more than 150 people, mostly children.
On Friday, the Taliban faction behind the massacre at Bacha Khan university posted a video message vowing to target schools throughout the country, calling them "nurseries" for people who challenge Allah's law.