Blast Kills 26 People; Pakistani Taliban Faction Claims Responsibility

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KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) — At least 26 people were killed in a blast Tuesday in the northern Pakistani city of Mardan, police said.

The explosion took place at the city’s National Database and Registration Authority offices — where Pakistanis get ID cards and passports.

Several other people were injured in the attack, said Saad Wazir of the Mardan police.

Police believe a suicide bomber drove his motorcycle into the office building.

Shortly afterward, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban — the Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan Jamaat ul Ahrar — claimed responsibility.

“We attacked the National Database Registration Authority office because it plays an essential role in this war,” said a statement signed by the group’s spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan.

“Any Pakistani institution that is involved in this war will continue to be a target for us going forward.”

The Pakistani Taliban, known as the TTP, share the same religious extremist ideology as their Afghan namesake but are a distinct group.

The TTP have been fighting to overthrow Pakistan’s government via a terrorist campaign, according to the U.S. State Department.

In October, the TTP Jamaat ul Ahrar claimed responsibility for the bombing of a political office for the country’s ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz.

Shortly after that attack, Ehsan vowed the attacks would continue until Sharia law was fully implemented in Pakistan.