Gunmen attack Sikh temple in Kabul | News | DW | 25.03.2020
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Gunmen attack Sikh temple in Kabul

Afghan police engaged in a standoff with unidentified attackers at a Sikh religious complex in the capital Kabul. There were several casualties in the attack now claimed by Islamic State.

Gunmen stormed a Sikh religious gathering in the Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday.

Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told journalists that police responded quickly and killed all the attackers.

"Unfortunately there are casualties," he said. At least 25 people are thought to have been killed, including a child.

Afghan police arrive at the site of the attack

Afghan police arrive at the site of the attack in the heart of Kabul's old city

Sikhs are a small religious minority in Afghanistan. They have been the target of attacks by Islamic extremists in the past. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the latest incident.

Narender Singh Khalsa, a lawmaker who represents the Sikh community, said "three suicide bombers entered the temple at a time when it was full of worshippers."

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A pattern of terrorism

Afghan security forces had cleared one floor of the temple, the Interior Ministry said, adding that they were advancing cautiously to avoid further casualties. 

"There are about 150 people inside the temple. Families are living there and they usually gather to offer prayers in the mornings," said Anarkali Kaur Honaryar, a Sikh MP in the Afghan parliament.

In 2018, the Sikh community was targeted in a suicide bombing that killed over a dozen people in the city of Jalalabad in Afghan’s East. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the assault. 

Earlier this month, the group killed 32 people and injured dozens in an attack on a political gathering in the capital. 

The attack on the Sikh temple comes a day after the US announced in frustration that it would cut aid to Afghanistan by $1 billion (€924 million). Afghan political leaders have failed to reach an agreement on who should govern the country or negotiate a pending peace deal with the Taliban. 

kp, rt/rg (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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