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Two killed in Sikh temple attack in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul

By Ehsan Popalzai and Irene Nasser, CNN

Gunmen launched an attack on a Sikh Gurdwara in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Saturday, killing at least two people, Kabul police chief spokesman Khalid Zadran said.

Seven attackers tried to storm the temple in the early hours of Saturday morning, throwing grenades at security guards who were standing at the entrance. The attackers also detonated a car bomb in the area but no casualties were reported from the explosion.

All seven gunmen were killed after a standoff that lasted several hours inside the temple’s compound, Zadran said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The attack killed a member of the security forces and a Sikh worshiper, according to state-run news agency Bakhtar.

Temple official Gornam Singh told Reuters that 30 people were inside the temple at the time of the attack. “We don’t know how many of them are alive or how many dead,” he said, adding that temple authorities were at a loss at what to do as the Taliban were not allowing them inside.

Sikhs are a tiny religious minority in Afghanistan, with very few left since the Taliban takeover last year.

Religious minority groups like the Sikhs have been a target for violence in the country. In 2020, 25 people were killed in an attack at another Sikh temple in Kabul, which ISIS claimed responsibility for.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemned the attack, writing in a tweet that “attacks on civilians must cease immediately. UNAMA calls for protection of all minorities in Afghanistan, including Sikhs, Hazaras and Sufis.”

The European Union Ambassador to Afghanistan said the attack is terrible and “religious (and ethnic) pluralism needs to be protected with full force.”

India’s Foreign Ministry said they were “deeply concerned at the reports emanating from Kabul about an attack on a sacred Gurudwara in that city.”

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