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Gunmen Kill 25 At Kabul Sikh Temple; Islamic State Claims Responsibility


An Afghan Sikh woman mourns for her relatives near the site of an attack in Kabul on March 25.

Militants launched an attack on a Sikh temple in Kabul that left at least 25 people dead before security forces killed the attackers and freed dozens of hostages.

Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian did not say how many attackers were involved in the March 25 assault on the temple, though he said all were killed.

The Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack via the online Amaq news agency, which it uses to distribute statements.

Afghanistan's Interior Ministry said that in addition to the 25 dead, eight people were wounded and 80 being held in the compound were rescued.

A Sikh woman wounded in the attack is brought to a hospital in Kabul.
A Sikh woman wounded in the attack is brought to a hospital in Kabul.

The AP news agency reported that one of the dead was a child, whose body was brought to a Kabul hospital.

Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told RFE/RL that Afghan security forces had cordoned off the area and efforts were under way to clear the building of the assailants.

Arian said at least four attackers were exchanging fire with Afghan special forces. He added that some people were rescued by Afghan security forces and that the operation is proceeding cautiously to avoid harming the people inside the compound.

Attack On Kabul Sikh Temple Leaves Dozens Dead
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The U.S. Embassy in Kabul and rights group Amnesty International condemned the attack.

“Peace will only come when people resolve their differences through words, not guns,” the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.

Amnesty said on Twitter that it was “shocked and disheartened” by the attack.

Sikhs, a small religious minority in Afghanistan that numbers fewer than 300 families, have been targeted by Islamist militants before.

A suicide bombing targeting the Sikh community and claimed by Islamic State killed more than a dozen people in 2018 in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.

The United States last month struck a deal with the Taliban on the withdrawal of U.S.-led international troops but the agreement does not include IS militants.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, dpa, and