Attack on Sikh temple in Afghan capital Kabul: two dead

KABUL: An attack on a Sikh temple in the Afghan capital, Kabul, left at least two people dead and seven injured on Saturday (June 18) after an explosion in a car loaded with explosives, officials said, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility .

Gray smoke billowed over the area in images broadcast by domestic broadcaster Tolo. A Taliban spokesman said the attackers had loaded a car with explosives, but they were detonated before reaching the target.

Taliban authorities were busy securing the site, he added.

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

The temple authorities didn’t know what to do because the Taliban wouldn’t let them in, Singh told Reuters.

A spokesman for Kabul’s commander said his forces had taken control of the area and cleared it of attackers. One Sikh worshiper was killed in the attack and one Taliban fighter killed in the clean-up operation, he added.

Since taking power in August, the Taliban say they have secured Afghanistan, although international officials and analysts say the risk of a resurgence in militancy remains.

Some of the attacks in recent months have been claimed by the Islamic State militant group.

Sikhs are a small religious minority in largely Muslim Afghanistan, made up of about 300 families before the country fell to the Taliban. But many left afterward, community and media members say.

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

The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed concern about reports of the attack. “We are closely monitoring the situation and awaiting further details,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in a statement.

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