at government office in Pakistan kills 21: official
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[December 29, 2015]
By Jibran Ahmad
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - A suicide
bomber attacked a government office in Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at
least 21 people and wounding more than 70, officials said.
A Pakistani Taliban faction claimed responsibility for the attack
on a branch of the National Database and Registration Authority
(Nadra), which issues government ID cards, in the northwestern city
of Mardan in 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.
At least 21 people were killed and 78 were wounded, 28 of them
critically, said Bilal Ahmad Faizi, spokesman for Rescue 1122
A Nadra employee, Mohammad Tariq, was inside when he heard the huge
blast outside the office premises.
"We are still inside the office, and the police and rescue workers
are busy in their work," he said.
Jamaat ur Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban that is fighting
to overthrow the government and establish hard-line Islamist rule,
Spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said the office was part of the "heathen
Pakistan state" and therefore a legitimate target.
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"God willing, we will target all Pakistani organizations that are
either directly or indirectly a part of this war," Ehsan said in a
The Pakistani Taliban once controlled swathes of remote territory in
the northwest, but a series of military offensives that began in
2009 has pushed them back into a few pockets.
There have been fewer militant attacks in towns and cities over the
past year or so, compared with several years ago, but the Taliban
remain a potent threat.
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