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HomeWorld NewsSikh devotee among two killed in attack on Gurdwara in Afghanistan's Kabul

Sikh devotee among two killed in attack on Gurdwara in Afghanistan’s Kabul

By PTI

KABUL: Several explosions and gunfire ripped through a Sikh Gurdwara (temple) in Afghanistan’s capital killing two people and wounding seven others, a Taliban official said. A Sikh devotee and a Taliban security force official were reported dead in the attack.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Gunmen attacked the Sikh house of worship, known as a gurdwara, in Kabul and a gunbattle between the attackers and Taliban fighters ensued, said Abdul Nafi Takor, a Taliban-appointed spokesperson for the Interior Ministry.

He said a vehicle full of explosives was detonated outside of the temple but that resulted in no casualties. “First the gunmen threw a hand grenade which caused a fire near the gate,” he said. Videos posted on social media show plumes of black smoke rising from the temple in Kabul’s Bagh-e Bala neighborhood and gunfire can be heard.

Khalid Zadran, a spokesman for the Kabul police chief, said the police operation ended after the last attacker was killed several hours later. He did not say how many attackers were involved. “The security forces were able to act quickly to control the attack and eliminate the attackers in a short period of time to prevent further casualties,” he said.

Videos posted on social media show plumes of black smoke rising from the temple in Kabul’s Bagh-e Bala neighborhood and gunfire can be heard.

“We heard a huge blast in Kart-e-Parwan neighbourhood at around 6 am local time. The blast was followed by another explosion which occurred about half an hour after the first blast. The whole place has now been sealed off,” China’s state-run Xinhua news agency quoted an eyewitness as saying. The security forces have cordoned off the area for precautionary measures, he said. The blast sent a column of thick smoke into the sky and triggered panic, the witness said. “There is fear of possible casualties. Several warning shots were also fired by the security forces,” he added.

India said it is deeply concerned over reports of an attack on a Gurudwara in Kabul and is closely monitoring the situation. “We are deeply concerned at the reports emanating from Kabul about an attack on a sacred Gurdwara in that city. We are closely monitoring the situation and waiting for further details on the unfolding developments,” the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi tweeted.

A regional affiliate of the Islamic State group known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province has lately increased attacks on mosques and minorities across the country.

The IS affiliate, which has been operating in Afghanistan since 2014, is seen as the greatest security challenge facing the country’s Taliban rulers. Since seizing power in Kabul and elsewhere in the country last August, the Taliban have launched a sweeping crackdown against the IS in eastern Afghanistan.

In March 2020, a lone Islamic State gunman rampaged through a Sikh temple in Kabul, killing 25 worshippers, including a child, and wounding eight others. As many as 80 worshippers were trapped inside the gurdwara as the gunman lobbed grenades and fired an automatic rifle into the crowd.

There were less than 700 Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan at the time of the 2020 attack. Since then, dozens of families have left but many cannot financially afford to move and have remained in Afghanistan, mainly in Kabul, Jalalabad and Ghazni.

(With inputs from PTI)

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