At least 22 people have been killed and dozen others wounded in a suicide attack outside a government office in Pakistan, police told.
The attack happened on Tuesday at an office of the National Database and Registration Authority in the town of Mardan, in the country’s northwest.
“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.
Jamat Ul Ahrar, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility, saying the office was a legitimate target as it was a part of the “heathen Pakistan state”.
“God willing, we will target all Pakistani organisations that are either directly or indirectly a part of this war,” Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement.
Pakistan has been battling armed groups since 2004, in a conflict that has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of civilians and security forces personnel.
Overall levels of violence have decreased in 2015 after a nationwide military-led offensive against the groups, blocking their sources of movement, communication and funding.
The crackdown came after the Taliban school attack in December 2014, in which more than 150 people, mainly school children, were killed.