Attack on Sikh temple in Afghan capital Kabul kills two

A Sikh worshipper and a Taliban fighter were killed following a blast in a car loaded with explosives.

 Afghan Sikh men light the funeral pyre for the victims who were killed during yesterday's attack at Sikh religious complex during a funeral in Kabul, Afghanistan March 26, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMAD ISMAIL)
Afghan Sikh men light the funeral pyre for the victims who were killed during yesterday's attack at Sikh religious complex during a funeral in Kabul, Afghanistan March 26, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMAD ISMAIL)

An attack on a Sikh temple in the Afghan capital of Kabul killed at least two people and injured seven on Saturday, following a blast in a car loaded with explosives, officials said, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Grey smoke billowed over the area in images aired by domestic broadcaster Tolo. A Taliban interior spokesman said attackers had laden a car with explosives but it had detonated before reaching its target.

Taliban authorities were securing the site, he added.

"There were around 30 people inside the temple," said a temple official, Gornam Singh. "We don't know how many of them are alive or how many dead."

Temple authorities did not know what to do, as the Taliban were not allowing them inside, Singh told Reuters.

 Afghan policemen inspect inside a Sikh religious complex after an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan March 25, 2020 (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMAD ISMAIL) Afghan policemen inspect inside a Sikh religious complex after an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan March 25, 2020 (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMAD ISMAIL)

A spokesman for Kabul's commander said his forces had taken control of the area and cleared it of attackers. One Sikh worshipper had been killed in the attack and one Taliban fighter killed during the clearing operation, he added.

Since taking power in August, the Taliban say they have secured Afghanistan, although international officials and analysts say the risk of a resurgence in militancy remains.

Some attacks in recent months have been claimed by the Islamic State militant group.

Afghan Sikhs

Sikhs are a tiny religious minority in largely Muslim Afghanistan, comprising about 300 families before the country fell to the Taliban. But many left afterward, say members of the community and media.

Like other religious minorities, Sikhs have been a continual target of violence in Afghanistan. An attack at another temple in Kabul in 2020 that killed 25 was claimed by Islamic State.

India's foreign ministry expressed concern over reports of the attack. "We are closely monitoring the situation and waiting for further details," foreign ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in a statement.

Saturday's explosion follows a blast at a mosque in the northern city of Kunduz the previous day that killed one person and injured two, according to authorities.