Attack on Sikh temple in Kabul leaves at least two dead

It follows a blast on Friday at a mosque in the northern city of Kunduz that killed one, authorities say

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An attack on a Sikh temple in Afghanistan's capital Kabul killed at least two people and injured seven on Saturday, Taliban officials said.

A Taliban interior ministry spokesman said the attackers attempted to drive a car laden with explosives into the area but the vehicle detonated before reaching its target.

A spokesman for Kabul's commander said his forces had taken control of the area and cleared it of attackers. One Sikh worshipper had been killed in the attack and one Taliban fighter killed during the clearing operation, he said.

Local broadcaster TOLOnews aired footage of heavy plumes of smoke rising from the area.

“Before entering, the enemy attacked the guards with a grenade, which caused a fire, and two of our Hindu compatriots, who were injured in the attack, were evacuated and taken to hospital for treatment,” the interior ministry said in a statement reported by the Ariana News Afghan TV channel.

Temple official Gornam Singh said there were about 30 people inside the temple at the time of the attack.

"We don't know how many of them are alive or how many dead. The Taliban are not allowing us to go inside, we don't know what to do," he said.

An image taken from footage on social media  shows Taliban Special Forces climbing a nearby building in Kabul. via Reuters

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack.

Afghanistan's Taliban rulers say they have secured the country since taking power in August last year, but international officials and analysts say the risk of a resurgence in militancy remains. Multiple attacks have taken place in recent months, with some claimed by the local branch of ISIS.

Sikhs are a tiny religious minority in largely Muslim Afghanistan, comprising around 300 family members before the fall of the country to the Taliban. Many had left the country in the wake of the takeover, according to community members and media reports.

The Sikh community, like other religious minorities, has been the continual target of violence in Afghanistan. An attack claimed by ISIS at another temple in Kabul in 2020 killed 25.

India's foreign ministry said it was "deeply concerned" about reports of the attack.

"We are closely monitoring the situation and waiting for further details on the unfolding developments," Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said.

Saturday's attack follows a blast on Friday in the northern city of Kunduz at a mosque that killed one and injured two, according to authorities.

Updated: June 18, 2022, 11:28 AM