Kabul: According to the Interior Ministry, armed groups attacked a Sikh temple in the capital of Afghanistan on Saturday, killing at least one in the community and injuring seven more. A provincial spokesman, Abdul Nafi Takar, said the attackers threw at least one grenade as they entered the temple and set fire to the complex. A few minutes later, a car bomb exploded in the area, but no casualties were reported, he added.

“One of our Sikh brothers was killed and the other seven were injured in the (injured) attack,” Tacol said in a statement. After the attack, he said, two attackers were killed and one Taliban fighter was killed in an operation to secure the temple. Although the number of bombings across Afghanistan has declined since the Taliban took power in August, several deadly attacks have struck Afghanistan in recent months.

“I heard gunshots and blasts,” Seek community leader Gurnam Singh told AFP from near the attack site on Saturday shortly after the attack began. “Generally, at that time in the morning, there are some Sikh followers who come to pray in Gurdwara (the temple complex).” The footage posted on social media after the attack is from the temple. The pillars and walls of the main chapel shattered into pieces, indicating that the floor was littered with debris.

A part of the building near the temple also ignited, AFP correspondents reported from the area. The windows of some houses were broken by the impact of a car bomb. The nearby streets were littered with shattered glass. Taliban troops blocked the neighborhood and prevented journalists from talking to residents and witnesses.

Repeated attacks

Taliban fighters deployed in the area told AFP that some Sikhs in the temple were able to escape from the back door during the attack. Some of the other Sikh temples in Kabul were closed for safety reasons due to widespread reports of attacks. So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The attack occurred a few days after an Indian delegation visited Kabul to discuss the distribution of humanitarian aid from India to Afghanistan.

The delegation also discussed with Taliban officials the possibility of reopening the Indian embassy, ​​according to media reports in Afghanistan and India. New Delhi, which had close ties with the former U.S.-backed Afghan government, closed its mission in Kabul when the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan on August 15, and all diplomatic and other staff. Was evacuated.

India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar has tweeted a “cowardly attack” on Saturday’s temples. The number of Sikhs living in Afghanistan has decreased to about 200, compared to about 500,000 in the 1970s. Most of the remaining are traders involved in the sale of herbs and electronic products brought in from India.

The community has faced repeated attacks over the years. At least 25 people were killed when armed groups attacked another Sikh temple in Kabul in March 2020. The Islamic State of the Jihadist group claimed responsibility for the attack, forcing many Sikhs to leave the country even before the Taliban returned to power. IS has a history of targeting other members of the minority community, including Afghan Sikhs, Hindus, and Islamic Shiites and Sufis.

A series of bombings struck the country during the holy month of Ramadan Muslims, which ended on April 30 in Afghanistan. Some of them were claimed by IS. IS is a Sunni Muslim group like the Taliban, but the two are fierce rivals. The Taliban have pursued Afghanistan without foreign troops, but the IS wants an Islamic caliphate that extends from Turkey to Pakistan and beyond. – AFP

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