A member of Afghanistan’s Sikh community has appealed to the international community to help protect religious minorities in the country following an attack on the Karteparwan Gurudwara – a Sikh temple – in Kabul that left at least two dead and three injured.
The Taliban said in a statement that a car laden with explosives was prevented from entering the temple complex on Saturday and detonated before it reached the intended target.
A spokesman for the commander of Kabul’s security forces said one Sikh worshipper was killed and a Taliban fighter also died during an operation to clear the temple of attackers, according to news reports.
Details of Saturday’s attack, along with photos and videos of victims and survivors, were shared with Al Jazeera by Sikh community members in Kabul and living in exile abroad.
Witnesses living close to the temple said they heard and felt the impact of the massive blast, which was followed by automatic gunfire as attackers entered the Gurudwara.
“I live close to the Gurudwara and was just getting ready for the day when I felt the loud explosion. I have never before felt anything so strong,” a Sikh resident of Kabul, who only wished to be identified as Anita, told Al Jazeera.
Anita is among the estimated 140 Hindus and Sikhs that still remain in Afghanistan; a community that once numbered approximately 200,000 members in Afghanistan in the 1970s.
Years of religious persecution and conflict have forced many Afghan Hindus and Sikhs to flee the country, reducing their numbers to about 7,000 by 2016, and now to a mere 140 who have chosen to remain since the Taliban takeover of the country in August 2021.
Read full report on Al Jazeera