IS claims Kabul Sikh gurdwara attack

Monday, Jun 20, 2022

KABUL: The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for an attack on a Sikh Gurdwara in Afghanistan that killed one community member and a Taliban fighter, saying it was retaliation for insults against the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Protests in several Muslim countries were sparked by a spokeswoman for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu-nationalist party comments earlier this month.

In a message posted on its Amaq propaganda site, the IS group said Saturday's attack targeted Hindus and Sikhs and the "apostates" who protected them in "an act of support for the Messenger of Allah".

IS said one of its fighters "penetrated a temple for Hindu and Sikh polytheists in Kabul, after killing its guard, and opened fire on the pagans inside with his machine gun and hand grenades". Two were killed and at least seven others wounded in the raid.

Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Nafi Takor said the attackers lobbed at least one grenade when they entered the temple, setting off a blaze.

The attack follows a visit by an Indian delegation to Kabul to discuss the distribution of humanitarian aid from India to Afghanistan. Afghan and Indian media reports said the delegation discussed with Taliban officials the possibility of reopening the Indian embassy, which shut after the Taliban seized power in August last year.

In recent months, many impoverished Sikhs, including women and children, took refuge in the complex that was attacked on Saturday. The community has faced repeated attacks over the years.