KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Gunmen stormed a religious gathering of Afghanistan’s minority Sikhs in their place of worship in the heart of Kabul’s old city on Wednesday, killing at least four people, a Sikh lawmaker said.
Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry said police responded promptly to Wednesday’s attack and were at the site, where shooting is still underway. The place of Sikh worship is known as a Gudwara.
The lawmaker, Narindra Singh Khalsa, said he received a call from a worshipper inside the Gudwara telling him of the attack and rushed over to help. There were about 150 worshippers inside the Gudwara at the time of the attack, he said, adding that at least four people have been killed.
The police are trying to dislodge the attackers, Khalsa said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed tweeted that the Taliban were not involved. Earlier this month, Afghanistan’s Islamic State 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. Under Taliban rule in the late 1990s, they were asked to identify themselves by wearing yellow armbands, but the rule was not enforced. In recent years, large numbers of Sikhs and Hindus have sought asylum in India, which has a Hindu majority and a large Sikh population.
In July 2018, a convoy of Sikhs and Hindus was attacked by an Islamic State suicide bomber as they were on their way to meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in the eastern city of Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province. Nineteen people were killed in that attack.