At least 2 dead after militants storm Sikh temple in Afghan capital

Kabul, June 18 (EFE).- Suicide attackers stormed a Sikh temple in the Afghan capital on Saturday morning, sparking a gun battle in which two people lost their lives, police said.

“The attack on the (Sikh) shrine ended with the elimination of the insurgents,” Kabul police spokesperson Khalid Zadran said.

The police spokesperson said the security forces quickly swung into action to prevent more casualties.

“Unfortunately, one (civilian) was killed and seven others were injured in the attack. A (Taliban security member) was also killed during the rescue operation.”
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The attack began with explosions targeting “gurdwara”, the place of worship belonging to the religious minority community.

The police spokesperson said the assailants wanted to detonate an explosive-laden car inside the temple.

“The car bomb exploded before reaching the target,” Zadran said.

Social media pictures and videos showed part of the temple complex on fire with a plume of smoke visible from a distance.

No armed group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, even as the Islamic State group is usually behind such attacks in the war-torn country.

The global terror network has emerged as the main threat to Afghan stability since the Taliban returned to power on Aug.15 last year.

Soon after the Taliban seized Kabul, many Afghan Hindus and Sikhs fled the country for India.

Hindus and Sikhs live mainly in India.

India expressed “deep concern” over the attack on the Sikh temple.

The foreign minister said the government was “closely monitoring the situation and waiting for further details on the unfolding developments.”

India has come under harsh criticism in recent weeks from Muslim majority countries after two members of the ruling party made derogatory remarks against the Prophet Muhammad, triggering jihadist revenge threats.

The last major attack targeting Sikhs in Afghanistan was in March 2020, when the Islamic State militant group killed 25 worshipers in a suicide bombing on a Kabul gurdwara.

Since the Taliban returned to power, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks, especially against the Shia Hazara minority, considered apostates by the Islamist extremists.

The Taliban had vowed security and an end to terror activities originating from the Afghan soil after the Islamist militia seized power in Kabul.

However, violence has spiked in the last year. The deadliest attack was on the Kabul airport on Aug 26 last year, claiming 170 lives. EFE