A Pakistani Taliban faction has claimed responsibility for the attack in the city of Mardan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The blast took place as people queued outside the government office.
At least 21 people have died and dozens more injured after a suicide bomber attacked a government office in in the city of Mardan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan, officials said.
A Pakistani Taliban faction has claimed responsibility for the attack that took place as people queued outside the regional branch of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), an agency responsible for issuing identity cards.
The local police told journalists that the suicide bomber rammed his motorbike into the main gate of the office building.
The attack comes amid reports that counter-terrorism authorities in Pakistan have arrested several men with alleged links with the “Islamic State” (IS). It also marks a violent end to what has been a relatively peaceful year for the terrorism-hit country.
Taliban claims responsbility
Jamaat ur Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack. The militant group is fighting to establish hard-line Islamist rule.
Spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan justified the attack on the government building, saying the office was part of the “heathen Pakistan state.”
“God willing, we will target all Pakistani organizations that are either directly or indirectly a part of this war,” Ehsan said in a statement.
The Pakistani Taliban, which once controlled large parts of the northwestern province, has suffered major setbacks since the start of major military offensives last year. It is now limited to just a few small pockets.