Kabul: Twenty-five people were killed after gunmen opened fired at a gurdwara in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, the local media has reported. The terror group ISIS has claimed the attack, news agency AFP reported.
“There are about 150 people inside the temple. Families are living there and they usually gather to offer prayers in the mornings,” said Anarkali Kaur Honaryar, a Sikh member of the Afghan parliament, AFP reported. “Some people inside the temple are hiding and their phones are off. I am very concerned.”
Afghan Health Ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar said 15 wounded people and one dead child had been brought to a local hospital. But as feared, the number of death rose much higher, as images posted online showed several bodies as well as terrified people running from the scene.
“Suicide attack on a Gurudwara Sahib in Kabul needs to be strongly condemned. These killings are a grim reminder of atrocities that continue to be inflicted upon religious minorities in some countries and the urgency with which their lives & religious freedom have to be safeguarded,” Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted.
Armed men stormed inside the gurdwara in Kabul’s Shor Bazar at 7:45 am local time, news agency ANI reported. The Afghan security forces responded and are still locked in a gunbattle.
“We convey our sincerest condolences to the immediate family members of the deceased and wish speedy recovery to the injured. India stands ready to extend all possible assistance to the affected families of the Hindu and Sikh community of Afghanistan,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“Such cowardly attacks on the places of religious worship of the minority community, especially at this time of COVID-19 pandemic, is reflective of the diabolical mindset of the perpetrators and their backers,” India said.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh called the incident “tragic and unfortunate” and asked Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to “find out the perpetrators and look after our people.”
“Horrific news coming from Kabul where a barbaric terror attack happened in the Gurudwara Guru Har Rai. It’s extremely tragic and unfortunate. Request President @AshrafGhani Ji to find out the perpetrators and look after our people,” the Chief Minister tweeted.
Afghan MP Nardendar Singh Khalisa told reporters that up to 150 people were at the gurdwara at the time of the attack.
The US recently made a deal with the Taliban after over 18 months of talks. It is aimed at paving the way for peace in Afghanistan and the departure of foreign troops.