Monday, April 15, 2024

Sikh Gurudwara attacked in Kabul: MEA condemns

Several explosions and gunfire ripped through a Sikh temple in Afghanistan’s capital Saturday killing one person and wounding seven others, a Taliban official said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Gunmen attacked the Sikh house of worship, known as a gurdwara, in Kabul and a gunbattle between the attackers and Taliban fighters ensued, said Abdul Nafi Takor, a Taliban-appointed spokesperson for the Interior Ministry.

He said a vehicle full of explosives was detonated outside of the temple but that resulted in no casualties. “First the gunmen threw a hand grenade which caused a fire near the gate,” he said.

Khalid Zadran, a spokesman for the Kabul police chief, said the police operation ended after the last attacker was killed several hours later. He did not say how many attackers were involved.

Zadran said one Sikh was killed and seven others were wounded in the attack and a Taliban security force was also killed during the rescue operation.

“The security forces were able to act quickly to control the attack and eliminate the attackers in a short period of time to prevent further casualties,” he said.

Videos posted on social media show plumes of black smoke rising from the temple in Kabul’s Bagh-e Bala neighborhood and gunfire can be heard.

A regional affiliate of the Islamic State group known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province has lately increased attacks on mosques and minorities across the country.

The IS affiliate, which has been operating in Afghanistan since 2014, is seen as the greatest security challenge facing the country’s Taliban rulers. Since seizing power in Kabul and elsewhere in the country last August, the Taliban have launched a sweeping crackdown against the IS in eastern Afghanistan.

In March 2020, a lone Islamic State gunman rampaged through a Sikh temple in Kabul, killing 25 worshippers, including a child, and wounding eight others. As many as 80 worshippers were trapped inside the gurdwara as the gunman lobbed grenades and fired an automatic rifle into the crowd.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Saturday condemned the reported attacks on a Gurudwara in Afghanistan’s Kabul. 

Issuing a statement, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi stated that India was ‘deeply concerned’ at the reports emanating from Kabul about an attack on a sacred Gurudwara in the city, and was closely monitoring the situation.

“We are deeply concerned at the reports emanating from Kabul about an attack on a sacred Gurudwara in that city. We are closely monitoring the situation and waiting for further details on the unfolding developments,” an official statement of the MEA read.

Alarming reports came from Kabul on Saturday morning after unknown armed assailants entered Gurdwara Karte Parwan in the city. According to Gurnam Singh, President of Gurdwara Karte Parwan, all residing inside the Gurdwara were allegedly killed. At least 2 Taliban soldiers were also wounded.

The attack started at 7:15 am Kabul time (8.30 am India time). The guard of the Gurudwara was shot dead as attackers made their way inside. Heavy clashes are currently underway in the region and 7-8 people are still believed to be trapped inside but numbers are not confirmed.

As per the latest update, the entire premises of Gurdwara Dashmesh Pita Sahib Ji has been set on fire between cross-battle security forces with militants. Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji and the main darbar hall of the gurdwara is feared to be part of the explosion. Around 25-30 Afghan Hindus and Sikhs presented in Gurdwara for morning prayers I.e. Sukhmani Sahib and as the attackers entered the premises.

According to the spokesman of the Ministry of Interior, “Before entering, they attacked the guards with a grenade, which caused a fire, and two Hindu compatriots, who were injured in the attack, were evacuated and taken to hospital for treatment.” 

According to the statement, a car bomb was also detonated by insurgents Saturday morning before it reached its target. “The enemies of religion and country wanted to detonate a car bomb in a crowded place. “Fortunately, they did not reach their target and detonated a car bomb before reaching the target,” the statement said.

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