Mardan (AsiaNews/Agencies) – At least 22 people have died and another 50 have been injured after a suicide bomber blew himself up this morning outside a government office in Mardan, in north-western Pakistan, just over 50 kilometres from Peshawar.
If a security guard at the office’s gate had not stopped the attacker, the death toll would be significantly higher, said Mardan police Deputy Inspector General Saeed Wazie. Still, the number of deaths is expected to rise.
Jamaatul Ahrar, a Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) splinter group, claimed responsibility for the blast near the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) office in Mardan, which is usually crowded with people lining up to get ID cards.
If a security guard at the office’s gate had not stopped the attacker, the death toll would be significantly higher, since the latter was carrying 12 kilograms of explosive material. Unable to get inside, the suicide bomber rammed his motorbike into the gate.
This is the deadliest attack since the Peshawar army school massacre a year ago, almost to the day, which saw 134 pupils and 9 adults killed by the same group.
The families of the victims and survivors, who are still demanding justice, are but a few of the more than 27,000 civilians and security forces personnel killed in terror attacks since 2004, this according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, a monitoring site.