At least 2 dead in explosions, gunfire at Afghan Sikh temple

At least two people were killed and seven others wounded after a Sikh temple in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul was bombed and attacked with gunfire on Saturday.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Abdul Nafi Takor, a spokesperson for the Taliban’s interior ministry, said gunmen attacked the Sikh house of worship, known as a “gurdwara,” in Kabul.

He said a gun battle between the attackers and Taliban forces took place and two Sikhs were wounded and taken to a hospital. “Initially, the gunmen threw a hand grenade which caused a fire near the gate,” Takor 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.

Taliban stand guard near the scene of explosions and a gunfight at a Sikh temple, Kabul, Afghanistan, June 18, 2022. (EPA Photo)

A regional affiliate of the Daesh terrorist group known as the Daesh-Khorasan Province has lately increased attacks on mosques and minorities across the country.

The Daesh 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 Daesh in eastern Afghanistan.

In March 2020, a Daesh gunman rampaged through a Sikh temple in Kabul, killing 25 worshipers, including a child, and wounding eight others. As many as 80 worshipers 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 been left but many cannot financially afford to move and have remained in Afghanistan, mainly in Kabul, Jalalabad, and Ghazni.

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