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Explosions and gunfire rip through Sikh temple in Afghanistan

Several explosions and gunfire ripped through a Sikh temple in Afghanistan’s capital Saturday a Taliban official said, wounding at least two people. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Abdul Nafi Takor, a Taliban-appointed spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, said gunmen attacked the Sikh house of worship, known as a gurdwara, in Kabul.

He said a gunbattle between the attackers and Taliban forces took place and two Sikhs were wounded and taken to a hospital. “First 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.

A regional affiliate of the Islamic State group known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province has lately increased attacks on mosques and minorities across the country.

The ISIS 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 IS in eastern Afghanistan.

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

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