The Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack on a Sikh temple in Kabul that killed two people

KABUL (Reuters) – An attack claimed by Islamic State on a Sikh temple in the Afghan capital on Saturday killed at least two people and wounded seven in another fatal incident in a wave of violence targeting minorities and their communities, officials said. Worship.

On its Telegram channel, the local branch of the Islamic State said the attack was in response to insults directed at the Prophet Muhammad, apparently referring to statements by an Indian government spokeswoman condemned by several Muslim-majority countries. Read more

Gray smoke billowed over the area in pictures broadcast by local broadcaster Tolo. A Taliban interior ministry spokesman said the attackers blew up a car with explosives, but it detonated before it reached its target.

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The temple official, Gurnam Singh, said there were about 30 people inside the building at the time.

A spokesman for the Kabul commander said a Sikh worshiper was killed in the attack and a Taliban fighter was killed when his forces took control of the area.

Since taking power in August, the Taliban say they have boosted security in Afghanistan and kept the country away from militant threats, although international officials and analysts say the risk of renewed militancy remains.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for some attacks in recent months.

The group said that a suicide bomber stormed the temple on Saturday morning armed with a machine gun and hand grenades, after killing his guard.

The movement said that other militants fought for more than three hours with Taliban fighters who tried to intervene to protect the temple, and targeted them with four improvised explosive devices and a car bomb.

Saturday’s blast was widely condemned as one of a series of attacks targeting minorities, with a statement from neighboring Pakistan saying its government was “deeply concerned about the recent wave of terrorist attacks on places of worship in Afghanistan”.

The United Nations mission in Afghanistan said in a statement that the country’s minorities needed protection and Indian President Narendra Modi said on Twitter he was “shocked” by the attack.

The Sikhs are a small religious minority in Muslim-majority Afghanistan, and they consisted of about 300 families before the country fell to the Taliban. Many have since left, according to community members and the media.

Like other religious minorities, the Sikhs have been a constant target of violence in Afghanistan. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for an attack on another temple in Kabul in 2020, which killed 25 people.

Saturday’s explosion followed an explosion at a mosque in the northern city of Kunduz the day before, killing one person and wounding two, according to authorities.

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(Muhammad Yunus Yawar reports). Additional reporting by Enas El-Ashry in Cairo. Written by Charlotte Greenfield and Mahmoud Murad. Editing by William Mallard, Clarence Fernandez, Clelia Ozil and Daniel Wallis

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