According to the Islamic State, the attack on the Sikh temple in Kabul was revenge for insulting the Prophet

According to the Islamic State, the attack on the Sikh temple in Kabul was revenge for insulting the Prophet

Saturday’s attack was “an act of revenge” after insults to the Prophet Mohammed by members of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party, ISIS-Khorasan said on its Telegram channel.

Nupur Sharma, a spokeswoman for the party, had made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad during a panel discussion on a news channel, and her comments allegedly followed another party leader’s anti-Islamic comments on Twitter.

Seven gunmen had attempted to storm the temple in the early hours of Saturday morning and all were killed after a standoff that lasted several hours, according to Kabul police.

ISIS-K said in its telegram post that its suicide bomber, Abu Muhammad al-Tajik, gained access to the temple by throwing a hand grenade at the security guard at the entrance, killing him.

“Armed with a rifle, pistol and hand grenades, he continued to fire,” said believers inside the temple, ISIS-K said.

A temple official said there were 30 people in the temple at the time.

ISIS-K also claimed its members clashed with Taliban government fighters trying to reach the temple and attacked them with a car bomb and four other explosive devices.

It said the clashes between ISIS-K and Taliban fighters lasted three hours and killed the suicide bomber al-Tajik.

“The IE [Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan] Strongly condemns the attacks by enemies of the Afghan people on the Hindu shrine in Kabul. The IEA extends its condolences to the families of the victims and assures that serious measures will be taken to identify and punish the perpetrators of this crime,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted in reference to the Sikh temple.

outrage grows

Afghanistan, once home to tens of thousands of Sikhs and Hindus, has seen numerous attacks on religious minorities since the Taliban took control of the country in 2021 after US forces left.

Last year, ISIS called for another attack against the Sikh community, killing more than two dozen people at another temple in Kabul.

Saturday’s attack comes amid growing outrage in the Muslim world towards India over BJP members’ comments, and New Delhi is struggling to stem the diplomatic fallout from Muslim-majority nations like the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Oman and Iraq.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemned the latest attack and tweeted calling for “protection of all minorities in Afghanistan, including Sikhs, Hazaras and Sufis”.

The European Union ambassador to Afghanistan also condemned the attack, saying: “Religious (and ethnic) pluralism must be protected with all our might.”

India’s Foreign Ministry said it was “deeply concerned by the reports from Kabul of an attack on a holy gurdwara in that city”.

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