Suicide blast in Mardan kills one, more than 17 injured

At least one person was killed and 17 people sustained injuries on Tuesday in a suicide blast targeting Mardan Excise and Taxation Department.

The suicide blast happened at about 12 pm. when a suicide bomber blew himself up after entering a government tax collection office in the downtown area of the district. About 30 to 35 people were present in the office when the blast occurred.

“The attacker first opened indiscriminate fire at main gate and there was a huge explosion as he entered the building,” a witness said.

Police and rescue team rushed to the site shortly after the blast was reported.

The area was cordoned off after the attack and an emergency has also been imposed.

Bomb disposal squad officers said that an estimated 8-10 kg of explosives were used in the blast. The identity of the suicide bomber is not known at the moment, they said.

No group has claimed responsibility of the attack yet.

All the blast victims have been shifted to District Headquarters Hospital Mardan. Hospital sources said four out of the injured are in critical condition.

The blast in the town of Mardan demonstrate the terrorists’continued ability to stage deadly attacks, despite a major military offensive against its headquarters that analysts say has reduced its capacity.

Earlier on December 30, a Taliban suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed at least 26 people and wounded dozens after crashing into the main gate of a regional branch of the National Database and Registration Authority, which is responsible for issuing ID cards.

Pakistan has been battling an insurgency since 2004 after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan caused fighters to flee across the border, where they began to foment unrest.

More than 27,000 civilians and security personnel have died in attacks since that time, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, a monitoring site. But overall levels of extremist-linked violence have dropped dramatically this year, with 2015 on course for the fewest deaths since 2007 — the year the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) umbrella group was formed.

Analysts have credited the fall to military operations against the Taliban in the tribal areas of North Waziristan and Khyber where they are headquartered, as well as in the country’s largest city of Karachi.

Authorities have also taken steps to shut down insurgents sources of funding and arrested thousands for inciting hatred.


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