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Afghan Sikh among 2 killed in terror strike on gurdwara in Kabul

Kabul/New Delhi: A blast ripped through a gurdwara in Kabul on Saturday, killing two persons, including a Sikh, and injuring seven others, even as Afghan security personnel thwarted a bigger tragedy by stopping an explosive-laden vehicle from reaching the place of worship.

In the latest targeted assault on the Sikh community in Afghanistan, Gurdwara Karte Parwan was attacked early Saturday morning; a gun battle ensued between the terrorists and Taliban fighters which lasted several hours. The police operation ended after the last attacker was killed.

Three attackers were killed by the Taliban forces, the Pajhwok news agency reported.

The gurdwara was attacked early in the morning when up to 30 people were inside, the BBC reported.

In New Delhi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday strongly condemned the "cowardly attack" and said the government was closely monitoring the situation following the incident.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. However, the attack is suspected to have been carried out by ISIS Khurasan.

This faction of the ISIS has in the past claimed responsibility for attacks on mosques and minorities across the country.

A local official at the scene, Gornam Singh, told Reuters news agency that the Taliban were not allowing Sikhs to enter the temple after the attack. TV footage showed grey plumes of smoke rising from the area.

There were less than 700 Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan at the time of the 2020 attack. Since then, dozens of families have left but many cannot financially afford to move and have remained in Afghanistan, mainly in Kabul, Jalalabad and Ghazni, according to AP.

Since the Taliban took power in August last year, the country has witnessed attacks by the rival Sunni Muslim militant group Islamic State.

In March 2020, at least 25 worshippers were killed and eight others injured when a heavily armed suicide bomber stormed Har Rai Sahib, a prominent gurdwara in the heart of Kabul, in one of the deadliest attacks on the minority Sikh community in the country.

The Islamic State terror group had claimed responsibility for the attack in the Shor Bazar area.

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