More than 20 killed in Pakistan suicide bombing claimed by Taliban splinter group

At least 22 people have been killed and dozens more were wounded in the blast

Click to follow
The Independent Online

At least 21 people have been killed during a suicide bomb blast outside a government office in Pakistan, with more than 70 wounded.

A Pakistani splinter group of the Taliban, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Spokesman for the Rescue 1122 emergency responders, Bilal Ahmad Faizi, told Reuters at least 21 people have died and 78 were wounded in the blast, 28 of them critically.

The attack was aimed at a branch of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) which issues government ID cards, situated in the city of Nardan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

A senior police officer, Saeed Khan Wazir, said a security guard tried to stop the bomber at the gate of the office on Tuesday.

He said the bomber was on a motorbike and rammed his vehicle into the gate before detonating his vest, according to Associated Press.

Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani Prime Minister, has condemned the attack, and instructed authorities to provide the best possible treatment for the wounded.

A spokesman for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, Ahsanullah Ahsan, called the bombing a “noble act to punish Nadra because it extends support to security forces”.

He also said in a statement the office was part of the “heathen Pakistan state” and added: “God willing, we will target all Pakistani organisations that are either directly or indirectly a part of this war.”

Pakistani forces have been carrying out a major operation against the Taliban and other militants in North Waziristan since 2014.

Earlier this month, the military claimed “phenomenal successes” in the war and said it has killed around 3,500 insurgents since launching the operation, but terror attacks have been frequent in Khyber Pakhtunkwa and its capital Peshawar, where 132 children were massacred at a school last year.

Additional reporting by Associated Press and Reuters