Published: Wed, March 25, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Gunmen attack Sikh religious gathering in Kabul, killing 4

Gunmen attack Sikh religious gathering in Kabul, killing 4

Some unidentified gunmen and suicide bombers attacked a Sikh religious premise in Afghanistan's capital Kabul on Wednesday (March 25, 2020).

However, an eyewitness close to the Gurudwara said, on the condition of anonymity, that he had heard two blasts so far.

Narender Singh Khalsa, a member of parliament in Afghanistan, said up to 200 people were trapped inside the gurdwara at the time of the attack which took place early in the morning. There were about 150 worshippers inside the Gurdwara at the time of the attack, he added.

Afghanistan's Interior Ministry said police responded promptly to the attack on the Sikh place of worship, known as a Gurdwara, while shooting was still underway.

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"At around 7.45am (0315 GMT), a number of attackers entered a Hindu-Sikh temple", interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said.

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Within hours, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.

In recent months the group has suffered mounting setbacks after being hunted by U.S. and Afghan forces as well as Taleban offensives targeting their fighters, but it still retains the ability to launch major assaults on urban centres.

No group had immediately claimed responsibility for the strike which comes weeks after the killing of several dozen of mostly Shiite civilians in a commemoration ceremony held for a slain leader of Hazaras, who are largely followers of the sect in a different part of the city.

Sikhs have suffered widespread discrimination in the conservative Muslim country and have also been targeted by Islamic extremists.

IS has a history of targeting Afghan Sikhs and Hindus including a suicide bombing in Jalalabad in July 2018 that killed 19 people and wounded 21. Under Taliban rule in the late 1990s, they were asked to identify themselves by wearing yellow armbands, but the rule was not enforced.

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