By RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi
June 18, 2022
An attack on a Sikh temple in Kabul killed at least two people and wounded seven on June 18, following the detonation of a car loaded with explosives, officials said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. A video circulating on social media showed a plume of smoke rising from the building.
“There were around 30 people inside the temple,” Sikh community leader Gornam Singh told the media. “We don’t know how many of them are alive or how many dead.”
Abdul Nafi Takur, a spokesman for the Taliban Interior Ministry, told RFE/RL that attackers had laden a car with explosives but it had detonated before reaching its target.
A spokesman for Kabul’s Taliban 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 member of the Taliban forces killed during the clearing operation, he added.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan condemned the attack, stressing that the security of Sikh, Sufi, and Hazara religious minorities must be protected.
The European Union’s representative for Afghanistan, Thomas Niklasson, tweeted that attacks on civilians must be stopped and the rights of all people, including religious minorities, must be protected.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet condemned the “barbaric attack.”
Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K), a regional affiliate of the Islamic State militant group, has lately increased attacks on mosques and minorities across the country.
Sikhs are a tiny religious minority in largely Muslim Afghanistan made up of some 300 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.
After taking power in a blitz campaign in August amid the withdrawal of U.S.-led international forces, the Taliban claimed to have secured Afghanistan. But international officials and experts warn there’s a continuous risk of a resurgence in militancy.
The Sikh community, like other religious minorities, has been a permanent target of violence in Afghanistan. An attack claimed by IS-K at another temple in Kabul in 2020 killed 25.
With reporting by Reuters, AFP, dpa, and AP
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