Two injured as explosions, gunfire rock Sikh Gurdwara in Afghanistan's capital Kabul
Kabul: Several blasts and gunfire hit a Sikh Gurdwara in Afghanistan's capital Kabul on Saturday, injuring at least two persons, in the latest targeted attack on a place of worship of a minority community in this war-torn country.
The blasts occurred in the Karta Parwan area of Kabul, Tolo news tweeted along with the video after the blasts. Gunfire was also reported from the area.
Karte Parwan Gurdwara is located in the area. The area is the centre for the Afghan Hindu and Sikh communities.
The country's interior ministry in a statement said two persons were injured after unidentified attackers attempted to enter the area, Tolo news reported.
"We are deeply concerned at the reports emanating from Kabul about an attack on a sacred Gurdwara in that city. We are closely monitoring the situation and waiting for further details on the unfolding developments," the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi tweeted.
"The cowardly attack on Gurdwara Karte Parwan should be condemned in the strongest terms by all. We have been closely monitoring developments since the news of the attack was received. Our first and foremost concern is for the welfare of the community," External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted.
Abdul Nafi Takor, a Taliban-appointed spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, confirmed the attack, The Associated Press reported.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
The Islamic State group known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province has in the past claimed responsibility for attacks on mosques and minorities across the country.
"We heard a huge blast in Kart-e-Parwan neighbourhood at around 6 am local time. The blast was followed by another explosion which occurred about half an hour after the first blast. The whole place has now been sealed off," China's state-run Xinhua news agency quoted an eyewitness as saying.
The security forces have cordoned off the area for precautionary measures, he said.
The blast sent a column of thick smoke into the sky and triggered panic, the witness said.
"There is fear of possible casualties. Several warning shots were also fired by the security forces," he added.
There were less than 700 Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan at the time of the 2020 attack. Since then, dozens of families have left but many cannot financially afford to move and have remained in Afghanistan, mainly in Kabul, Jalalabad and Ghazni.
Saturday's incident is the latest targeted attack on a place of worship of a minority community in Afghanistan.
In March 2020, at least 25 worshippers were killed and eight others injured when a heavily armed suicide bomber stormed a prominent gurdwara 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.