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Explosions, Gunfire Rock Sikh Gurdwara in Afghanistan’s Kabul

Several blasts and gunfire hit a Sikh Gurdwara in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Saturday, according to media reports.

The blasts occurred in the Karta Parwan area of Kabul, Tolo News tweeted along with a video. Gunfire was also reported from the area. Karte Parwan Gurdwara is located in the area. The casualties in the blast were unknown.

“We are deeply concerned at the reports emanating from Kabul about an attack on a sacred Gurudwara in that city,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi tweeted. “We are closely monitoring the situation and waiting for further details on the unfolding developments.”

Abdul Nafi Takor, a Taliban-appointed spokesperson for Afghanistan’s interior ministry, confirmed the attack but did not provide further details or say whether there were casualties, the Associated Press reported.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

The Islamic State, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, has in the past claimed responsibility for attacks on mosques and minorities across Afghanistan.

“We heard a huge blast in Kart-e-Parwan neighbourhood at around 6:00 am local time. The blast was followed by another explosion which occurred about half an hour after the first blast,” China’s state-run Xinhua news agency quoted an eye-witness as saying. “The whole place has now been sealed off.”

Security forces have cordoned off the area for precautionary measures, the eye-witness said. The blast sent a column of thick smoke into the sky and triggered panic, he said. “There is fear of possible casualties. Several warning shots were also fired by the security forces.”

Community leaders estimate just 140 Sikhs remain in the Taliban-ruled country, mostly in the eastern city of Jalalabad and the capital Kabul.

In March 2020, at least 25 worshippers were killed and eight others injured when a heavily armed suicide bomber stormed a prominent gurudwara in the heart of Kabul, in one of the deadliest attacks on the minority Sikh community in the country. The Islamic State terror group had claimed responsibility for the attack in the Shor Bazar area.

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