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Attack on Minority Sikh Temple in Afghan Capital Kills 2

Kabul, Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities said Saturday at least two people were killed and seven others wounded in an early morning militant assault on a minority Sikh temple in the capital, Kabul.

Interior Ministry spokesperson Abdul Nafi Takor told reporters a member of the Sikh community and a Taliban security personnel were among the dead.

Takor said a group of gunmen had lobbed hand grenades at security guards at the entrance before storming the place of worship in the Kart-e-Parwan neighborhood.

Taliban security forces quickly surrounded the temple and engaged the assailants in a gunfight, killing all of them and ending the siege.

Local television stations aired footage showing heavy gray plumes of smoke rising from the area.

Takor said the militants attempted to drive an explosives-packed car into the crowded area, but it exploded before reaching its intended target, causing no casualties.

An official at the temple, Gornam Singh, told reporters there were 30 people inside the building at the time of attack.

No group immediately took responsibility for the violence.

There were around 300 members of the tiny Sikh community in Afghanistan before the fall of the largely Muslim country to the Taliban in August.

Community members and media reports said many Sikhs had left the country for India before the Taliban takeover and the rest have been unable to do so because of problems securing Indian visas.

A regional affiliate of the Islamic State group, Islamic State Khorasan Province, has recently increased attacks against minority Shiite Muslim Afghans and other religious minorities, killing scores of people.

The group claimed an attack on another Sikh temple in Kabul in 2020 that killed 25 worshippers.

The new Taliban rulers say they have largely eliminated Islamic State Khorasan Province bases in Afghanistan but repeated attacks in recent days raise questions about the official claims.

India's External Affairs Ministry said it was "deeply concerned" about reports of the attack.

"We are closely monitoring the situation and waiting for further details on the unfolding developments," ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a statement.

Some information for this report came from Reuters.