Tuesday, 24 November, 2020

Gunmen attack Sikh religious gathering in Kabul, killing 4

Afghan personnel arrive at the site of the attack in Kabul Afghan personnel arrive at the site of the attack in Kabul
Deanna Wagner | 25 March, 2020, 12:55

Armed men stormed a Gurdwara Guru Har Har Rai in Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul on Wednesday and were locked in an ongoing battle with the security forces, Afghan media reported.

Pompeo, who lashed out at their "failure" to come to an agreement, said the United States would immediately cut $1 billion and was "prepared" to pull another $1 billion in 2021, with further cuts possible after that.

Several of the worshippers were being held hostage by the gunmen who were lobbing grenades at the Afghan special forces, Mr Khalsa said, but he did not know how many were being held.

The parliamentarian, Narindra Singh Khalsa, said he was near the Gurdwara when the attack happened and ran to the site.

"The gunmen started their attack at a time when the dharamsala was full of worshippers", he said.

Sikhs constitute a small religious minority in Afghanistan with fewer than 300 families and have been the target of violent attacks in the past.

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Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said that it was not immediately clear who the attackers were or whether there were any casualties. Later he heard the sounds of explosions, adding that he believes they were hand grenades.

Earlier this month, Afghanistan's IS affiliate struck a gathering of minority Shiite Muslims in Kabul, killing 32 people.

Sikhs have suffered widespread discrimination in the conservative Muslim country and have also been targeted by Islamic extremists.

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

Under the Taliban regime of late 1990s, Sikhs were segregated and were asked to identify themselves by wearing yellow bands around their arms. Nineteen people were killed in that attack.