Published On: Wed, Dec 30th, 2015

Aftermath of Suicide Attack on NADRA Regional Office Pakistan

Aftermath of Suicide Attack on NADRA Regional Office Pakistan Blast

A suicide bomber struck a regional branch of Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority in Mardan on Tuesday, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 40, a police official said.

The bomber, riding a motorcycle, had tried to force his way through the authority’s main gate and detonated his explosives after being stopped by a guard, said Haroon Bacha, the deputy superintendent of police in Mardan.

“The office was closed for a lunch break, and when the bomber tried to force his way inside, the guard stopped him, a scuffle ensued and there was an explosion,” he said. “The brave man tried to stop the bomber and lost his life.”

Saeed Wazir, a regional police officer, said that the bomber appeared to be in his early to mid-20s, and that he was wearing a suicide vest laden with about 20 pounds of explosives.

It was not immediately clear why the bomber targeted the registration authority’s office, where people had gathered outside, waiting for it to reopen. Mr. Bacha said the aim might have been to inflict a large number of civilian casualties.

“It was an unlikely target,” he said. “People do come in large numbers to get their national identity cards, but why this particular place, we have no idea at the moment.”

A spokesman for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, an offshoot of the militant group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the bombing in Mardan, the second-largest city in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province.

In an email to journalists, the spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said that the office had been targeted for being “an important part of this war and being an important institution of this infidel Pakistani state.” He warned that all Pakistani state institutions that are, directly or indirectly, part of “this war” would be targeted.

The suicide bombing is the first in months in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, in the country’s northwest. In September, militants attacked a former United States air base in Badaber, on the outskirts of Peshawar, the provincial capital, killing 29 people. The base is now run by the Pakistani Air Force.

There has been a 60 percent drop in the number of terrorist attacks in Pakistan, according to security officials, since the beginning of the military operation in June 2014 aimed at flushing militants out of their tribal strongholds. However, sleeper networks in urban areas remain a challenge, said a senior security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the news media.

“They stand defeated, but incidents like Mardan show that they are not finished yet,” the security official said. “We are over the hump, but it’s a long haul. It will take us time, resources and numerous sacrifices to eliminate them totally.”

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