A Sikh temple in the Afghan capital Kabul was the target of a terrorist attack on Saturday. Local media reported several explosions in the area around Gurudwara, the faith community’s place of worship.
Shots were also heard. Video footage circulating on social media showed a plume of smoke rising from the building in the Karte Parwan district.
One visitor and one Taliban fighter who was present were killed in the attack on Saturday, and seven other temple visitors were injured. According to a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, men armed with hand grenades and rifles stormed the temple at the prayer time on Saturday morning. Taliban members later killed two attackers.
According to Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Nafi Takor, the attackers used at least one hand grenade. When they exploded, part of the temple complex also caught fire. Taliban security forces then surrounded the building. Shortly thereafter, a car bomb detonated nearby, but no people were harmed, Takor said.
The jihadist militia Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on a Sikh temple in the Afghan capital Kabul. The militia said on the IS propaganda channel Amaq that the attack carried out on Saturday was an act of revenge on Hindus and Sikhs for insulting the Prophet Mohammed.
The jihadists are probably referring to a statement by Nupur Sharma, spokeswoman for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP party, which has been followed by angry protests for days. In a televised debate, Sharma spoke about the relationship between the Prophet Mohammed and his youngest wife.
Her remarks were taken as an insult by many Muslims in India and neighboring countries. Almost 20 countries summoned India’s diplomatic representatives after the statements.
Sikhs are a small religious minority in predominantly Muslim Afghanistan. Today only around 200 followers of this religion live in the country. In the 1970s there were still around half a million.
The religious community has been repeatedly attacked in Afghanistan over the years. Most recently, in March 2020, 25 people were killed in an armed attack on another Sikh temple in the Afghan capital. Many Sikhs left the country as a result. The jihadist militia Islamic State (IS) also claimed responsibility for the crime at the time.
The radical Sunni militia are behind numerous attacks and attacks on Sikhs, Hindus and other religious minorities, including Muslim Shia and Sufis.
India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar had condemned the recent “cowardly attack” on a Sikh temple. An Indian delegation recently visited Kabul to discuss humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.
Since the Islamists took power last August, the number of bomb attacks across the country has dropped. However, during the fasting month of Ramadan, the country was again shaken by a series of attacks that killed dozens of people. IS claimed responsibility for some of them.