At least nine people were killed and 18 wounded in a suicide attack on Monday in the northwest region of Pakistan.
The bomber blew himself up outside a district court in the Shabqadar market area of Charsadda district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, police said.
Asfandyar Khan, a hospital worker, told Al Jazeera two women and a female child were among the dead.
Charsadda in northwest Pakistan
Police said 18 people were also wounded in the explosion – with six in critical condition. The blast took place about 30km from the region’s main city of Peshawar.
Inspector Ali Jan Khan from the Shabqadar police station said the attacker was attempting to enter the court.
“The suicide bomber was interrupted by two security personnel, which prompted him to blow himself up outside the court,” he told Al Jazeera.
Medical teams were dispatched to the scene, but the death toll is expected to rise, he said.
A splinter group of the Tehreek e-Taliban claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, saying it was a revenge attack for the recent execution of a former Pakistani commando who shot dead Punjab province’s governor in 2011.
Slain governor Salman Taseer had sought to reform Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws.
Charsadda is near the Mohmand tribal district, one of seven regions along the border with Afghanistan, where the Pakistani military has launched a major offensive against fighters from al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
“Charsadda is the first point of entry for any attacker coming out of Mohmand,” said Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from the capital Islamabad.
In January, Bacha Khan University – also in Charsadda – came under attack by the Pakistani Taliban, which killed 21 students and teachers after gunmen stormed the school.
Source: Al Jazeera