A Pakistani Taliban faction claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s suicide attack in a government office that left at least 23 people dead and more than 70 others injured in the city of Mardan.
The suicide bomber attacked the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), a government registration office for government ID cards, in Mardan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
"A suicide bomber riding an explosives-laden motorcycle hit the Nadra office in Mardan where a large number of people were standing in queues," police officer Naeem Khan told Reuters.
According to Police Chief Faisal Shahzad, the suicide bomber wanted to carry out the explosion inside the building, but security guards, some of whom also lost their lives, prevented him from entering.
“The bomber wanted to enter the premises of the building but he had to ram his bike into the gate after the security guards intercepted him,” Police Chief Faisal Shahzad said.
Bilal Ahmad Faizi, spokesman for Rescue 1122 emergency responders said at least 23 people were killed and more than 75 were wounded, including 25 of them were in critical condition.
A rescue worker Aurangzeb Kahn told Reuters, "There was a blast in the office for identity cards at around 2 o'clock. Around 100 people are injured, and around 20 have been martyred."
Pakistani Taliban faction member Jamaat ur Ahrar claimed responsibility for the attack, Reuters reports.
"God willing, we will target all Pakistani organisations that are either directly or indirectly a part of this war," spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said in a statement where he pointed out that the Nadra office was part of the "heathen Pakistan state."
During the attack, Nadra employee Mohammad Tariq said that he as well as others were inside the building when the blast took place.
"We are still inside the office, and the police and rescue workers are busy in their work," he said.
A local resident Mohammad Zaib stated he found dead bodies scattered everywhere when he arrived at the scene.
"I was offering my prayers in my house when the blast occurred. It was a huge blast. When I came running here, there were dead bodies lying all around. It was like doomsday. Body parts were scattered on the ground. Rescue workers were picking up dead bodies and putting them in vehicles," Zaib said.
The attack comes after four Taliban members were killed as a result of their role in the Peshawar school massacre in December 2014.