Attack on Sikh temple in Kabul kills two

AFP / Mohd Rasfan

An attack on a Sikh temple in the Afghan capital of Kabul killed at least two people and injured seven on Saturday, following a blast in a car loaded with explosives.

The officials reported, and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Grey smoke billowed over the area in images aired by domestic broadcaster Tolo. A Taliban interior spokesman said attackers had laden a car with explosives but detonated it before reaching its target.

Taliban authorities were securing the site, he added.

"There were around 30 people inside the temple," said a temple official, Gornam Singh. "We don't know how many of them are alive or how many dead."

Temple authorities did not know what to do, as the Taliban were not allowing them inside, Singh told Reuters.

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

Since taking power in August, the Taliban say they have secured Afghanistan, although international officials and analysts say the risk of a resurgence in militancy remains.

The IS militant group has claimed some attacks in recent months.

Sikhs are a tiny religious minority in predominantly Muslim Afghanistan, comprising about 300 families before the country fell to the Taliban. But many left afterwards, say members of the community and media.

Like other religious minorities, Sikhs have been a continual target of violence in Afghanistan. The militant group claimed an attack at another temple in Kabul in 2020 that killed 25.

India's foreign ministry expressed concern over reports of the attack. "We are closely monitoring the situation and waiting for further details," foreign ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in a statement.

Saturday's explosion follows a blast at a mosque in the northern city of Kunduz the previous day that killed one person and injured two, according to authorities.

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