Gunmen Storm Sikh Complex in Kabul, Killing 25

 Gunmen Storm Sikh Complex in Kabul, Killing 25

KABUL, Afghanistan — A gunman assaulted a Sikh temple and community center in Kabul on Wednesday, killing at least 25 people and taking dozens of people hostage, Afghan officials said.

The attack on the Sikh complex ended after six hours of fighting, according to Ahmad Tariq Arian, the interior ministry spokesman, who said that eight civilians were wounded and 80 hostages were rescued.

More than 20 Sikh families were living at the center, which was attacked in the early morning hours. The police were quickly deployed and were clearing the center, the interior ministry said.

Anarkali Kaur Honaryar, a member of the Afghan Senate who was transferring dead bodies, said only one of those killed was a Muslim, who was guarding the temple. The rest of those killed were Sikhs, he said, including one child.

Islamic State loyalists claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Site Intelligence Group, which monitors militant media sites.

Hindus and Sikhs, once numbering in the hundreds of thousands in the country, are oppressed minorities in Afghanistan who have been frequently attacked in recent years. In July 2018, a large group was attacked by a suicide bomber while waiting to meet President Ashraf Ghani in Nangarhar Province. The blast killed 17, including a candidate for Parliament.

Community leaders estimate that only a couple of hundred Hindu and Sikh families remain in Afghanistan, with the rest migrating to India or the West over the past four decades.

Elsewhere in the country, a vehicle carrying civilians was blown up by a roadside bomb in the Musa Qala district of southern Helmand Province, killing eight people, including children, local officials said.

Najim Rahim and Mujib Mashal contributed reporting from Kabul, and Taimoor Shah from Kandahar.

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