Mohammad Qasim told The Associated Press from his hospital bed that he went to the office to receive his national identity card, which is issued at age 18.
“I was in a very happy mood today. I told my family and friends that I would receive my national identity card, but I didn't know that I would become the target of a bombing,” said Qasim, who had bandages on both legs.
Shortly after the attack, the group Jamaat Al-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the bombing, through its spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan, calling it a “noble act to punish NADRA because it extends support to security forces.” He spoke to The Associated Press by phone from an undisclosed location.
Jamaat Al-Ahrar split from the main Pakistani Taliban group — Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP — two years ago after differences among the leadership.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the bombing.
Mardan is about 30 miles northwest of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, bordering Afghanistan and adjacent to the North Waziristan tribal region.
Pakistani forces have been carrying out a major operation against the Taliban and other groups in North Waziristan since 2014. The military says it has almost eliminated fighters from the armed groups in the course of its operation. Earlier this month, the military claimed “phenomenal successes” in the war and said it has killed about 3,500 insurgents since launching the operation. The army says insurgents are on the run and security forces have broken their backbone.
But attacks have been rampant in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and in December 2014, insurgents strapped with explosives broke into a military-run school in Peshawar and killed 148 people, most of them children. The Taliban later claimed responsibility for that attack.
The Associated Press