At least two explosions were reported at a Sikh temple in Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul on Saturday morning.
Abdul Nafi Takor, a Taliban-appointed spokesperson for the interior ministry, confirmed the blasts but did not provide further details or confirm if there were casualties.
Temple official Gornam Singh also confirmed the attack. “There were around 30 people inside the temple. We don’t know how many of them are alive or how many dead. The Taliban are not allowing us to go inside, we don’t know what to do,” the official said.
Videos posted on social media showed plumes of black smoke rising from the temple, known as a gurdwara, in the Bagh-e-Bala neighbourhood of Kabul. Gunfire can also be heard.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
However, a regional affiliate of the Islamic State group, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, has lately increased attacks on mosques and religious minorities across the country.
The IS affiliate, which has been operating in Afghanistan since 2014, is seen as the greatest security challenge facing the country’s Taliban rulers.
Since seizing power in Kabul and elsewhere in the country in August 2021, the Taliban have launched a sweeping crackdown against the IS in eastern Afghanistan.
In March 2020, a lone Islamic State gunman rampaged through a Sikh temple in Kabul, killing 25 worshippers, including a child, and wounding eight others. The gunman held many worshippers hostage for several hours.
As many as 80 worshippers were trapped inside the gurdwara as the gunman lobbed grenades and fired an automatic rifle into the crowd.
Additional reporting by agencies