In the center of the Afghan capital Kabul, an attacker stormed a temple of the Sikh religion on Wednesday, killing at least 25 people. In addition, at least eight people were injured, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said. The attacker was killed by special forces after several hours of fighting. Initially, the authorities had assumed that there were several offenders. The terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) claimed the attack through its mouthpiece Amak.
According to the authorities, the attacker took several dozen people hostage in the temple that morning. Around 80 people, including many women and children, have been liberated by the security forces. A representative of the Sikh and Hindu community in the Afghan parliament had previously spoken of around 150 to 200 hostages.
An eyewitness told the German Press Agency how a uniformed attacker entered the building and first killed a security guard before firing grenades. “At the moment of the attack, about 25 children in the temple had just started their religious studies. I tried to track the attacker. But my brother forced me to go to another room. We then locked the room, ”said the man, who claimed to have lost four family members in the attack.
Taliban don't want to be responsible
The militant Islamist Taliban had already denied in the morning that they were responsible for the attack, as Taliban spokesman Sabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter.
Senior officials blamed the Hakkani network for the attack, according to government officials. A few days ago, the security forces had received information from the intelligence services that the militant Islamic group was planning attacks on Indian targets.
The head of the Hakkani network, Siradschuddin Hakkani, had recently spoken out in favor of a political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and an end to the killing. He is also Vice-Chief of the Taliban. The Hakkani network is responsible for some of the cruellest attacks in Afghanistan.
The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly condemned the act. “Such cowardly attacks on the religious places of prayer of the minority community, especially at this time of the Covid 19 pandemic, reflect the diabolical thinking of the perpetrators and their backers,” it said in a press release.
In 2018, at least 19 people were killed in a suicide attack on the Sikh community by the Islamic State terror militia in the eastern province of Nangarhar. Many followers of the Sikh religion originating from India then left the country. Today, according to politicians, only about 1,000 Sikhs still live in Afghanistan. (dpa)