Blast kills 26 people; Pakistani Taliban faction claims responsibility

Story highlights

The TTP Jamaat ul Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claim responsibility

The group has vowed more attacks until Sharia law is fully implemented in Pakistan

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.

CNN’s Sophia Saifi reported from Karachi, Pakistan, with Holly Yan writing and reporting from Atlanta. Journalist Zahir Shah in Peshawar, Pakistan, also contributed to this report.