Home World News Attack on Sikh temple in Afghan capital kills two

Attack on Sikh temple in Afghan capital kills two

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KABUL, June 18 (Reuters) – An attack on a Sikh temple in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday left at least two people dead and seven injured, officials said.

Gray smoke billowed over the area in footage broadcast by national broadcaster Tolo. A Taliban interior spokesman said the attackers loaded a car with explosives but it exploded before reaching its target.

“There were about 30 people inside the temple,” temple official Gornam Singh said. “We don’t know how many of them are alive or how many are dead.”

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A spokesman for the Kabul commander said his forces had taken control of the area and cleared it of attackers. A Sikh worshiper was killed in the attack and a Taliban fighter was killed during the mopping up operation, he added.

Responsibility for the explosion was not immediately claimed.

Since taking power in August, the Taliban says it has tightened security in Afghanistan and removed the country from threats from militants, although international officials and analysts say the risk of a resurgence in militancy remains.

The Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility for a few attacks in recent months.

Saturday’s blast was widely condemned as part of a series of attacks targeting minorities, with a statement from neighboring Pakistan saying its government was “seriously concerned about the recent series of terrorist attacks on places of worship in Afghanistan”.

The UN mission in Afghanistan said in a statement that the country’s minorities must be protected and Indian President Narendra Modi said on Twitter he was “shocked” by the attack.

Sikhs are a small religious minority in predominantly Muslim Afghanistan, comprising around 300 families before the country fell to the Taliban. But many left afterwards, community members and media say.

Like other religious minorities, Sikhs have been the continuous target of violence in Afghanistan. An attack on another Kabul temple in 2020 that left 25 people dead was claimed by Islamic State.

Saturday’s blast follows an explosion at a mosque in the northern town of Kunduz the previous day that killed one person and injured two, authorities said.

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Reporting by Mohammad Yunus Yawar; Written by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by William Mallard, Clarence Fernandez and Clelia Oziel

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