A lone Islamic State gunman rampaged by a Sikh house of worship in the guts of the Afghan capital Wednesday, killing 25 worshippers and wounding eight, Afghanistans Inside Ministry mentioned.
The gunman held many worshippers hostage for a number of hours whereas Afghan particular forces, helped by worldwide troops, tried to clear the constructing. Not less than one of the lifeless was a baby.
Inside hours, the Islamic State group claimed accountability for the attack.
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The Afghan particular forces rescued not less than 80 worshippers who had been trapped contained in the Sikh house of worship, referred to as a Gurdwara, because the gunman lobbed grenades and fired his computerized rifle into the gang, the ministry mentioned.
Earlier, Afghan lawmaker Narindra Singh Khalsa mentioned he rushed over to assist after receiving a name from an individual contained in the Gurdwara telling him of the attack. There have been about 150 individuals inside on the time, he mentioned.
The SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks militant postings and teams, mentioned IS claimed accountability for the attack on the teams Aamaq media arm. The communique recognized the gunman as Indian nationwide Abu Khalid al-Hindi, who carried out the attack to avenge the plight of Muslims dwelling below extreme restrictions in Indian-ruled Kashmir, Hindu Indias solely Muslim dominated state.
At a Kabul hospital, Mohan Singh, who was in the Gurdwara when the attack started, mentioned he first heard the sound of gunshots and ducked for canopy below a desk. Later he heard explosions, including that he believes they had been hand grenades. He was wounded when elements of the ceiling fell on him.
In pictures shared by the Inside Ministry, a couple of dozen kids had been seen being rushed out of the Gurdwara by Afghan particular forces, many of them barefoot and crying.
As information of the attack first broke, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed tweeted that the Taliban weren’t concerned. Earlier this month, Afghanistans IS affiliate struck a gathering of minority Shiite Muslims in Kabul, killing 32 individuals.
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Afghanistans Nationwide Safety Adviser Hamdullah Mohib condemned the attack in a tweet whereas neighboring Pakistan and India each issued statements of condemnation. Pakistan described the attack as heinous.
Such despicable acts don’t have any political, non secular or ethical justification and have to be rejected outright, the Pakistani International Ministry assertion mentioned.
India mentioned the attack was notably egregious coming as Afghanistan sought to take care of the rising coronavirus pandemic.
Such cowardly assaults on the locations of non secular worship of the minority neighborhood, India mentioned, replicate the diabolical mindset of the perpetrators and their backers.
U.N. Secretary-Common Antonio Guterres condemned the attack, reiterating that assaults towards civilians are unacceptable and people who perform such crimes have to be held accountable, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric mentioned.
The United Nations Help Mission in Afghanistan referred to as for a discount of violence resulting in a cease-fire by all combatants in Afghanistan.
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Sikhs have suffered widespread discrimination in the conservative Muslim nation and have additionally been focused by Islamic extremists. Beneath Taliban rule in the late 1990s, they had been requested to establish themselves by sporting yellow armbands, however the rule was not enforced. Lately, giant numbers of Sikhs and Hindus have sought asylum in India, which has a Hindu majority and a big Sikh inhabitants.
In July 2018, a convoy of Sikhs and Hindus was attacked by an Islamic State suicide bomber as they had been on their option to meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in the jap metropolis of Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province. Nineteen individuals had been killed in that attack.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan, not less than eight civilians had been killed in southern Helmand province when their automobile hit a roadside mine, mentioned Omer Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor. The realm is below Taliban management however nobody took instant accountability.
In a separate incident in northern Kapisa province, insurgents opened fireplace on a automobile killing three civilians and a safety officer, mentioned Shahiq Shoresh Kohistani, spokesman for the provincial police chief.
Washington signed a take care of the Taliban on Feb. 29 and has begun to withdraw its troops in protecting with the settlement however it has run into bother as Afghanistans political management battles relentlessly for energy. Two presidents sit in Kabul. Even a shock go to by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, who threatened to withhold $1 billion in help in the event that they didnt get their act collectively, might break the deadlock.
A glimmer of hope appeared late Wednesday with a tweet from Taliban political spokesman Sohail Shaheen. He mentioned the discharge of Taliban prisoners a should earlier than intra-Afghan negotiations can start might begin by March 31. The choice got here after a four-hour video convention between the Taliban, the federal government, Washingtons peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Qatari authorities consultant. The Taliban keep a political workplace in the Center Jap State of Qatar.
The U.S.-Taliban deal requires the discharge of 5,000 Taliban prisoners in addition to 1,000 authorities captives as an excellent will gesture to launch intra-Afghan negotiations, however till now Kabul has been resisting the discharge.
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Shaheen additionally mentioned 4 Taliban members could journey to the jail at Bagram, north of the Afghan capital Kabul.
In the meantime, with greater than 137,000 Afghans getting back from Iran to date this yr touring all through the nation earlier than being examined and with out comply with up there have been considerations that the countrys already war-devastated well being system might be overwhelmed.
The United Nations Help Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Wednesday referred to as for a discount of violence resulting in a stop fireplace by all combatants in Afghanistan to higher put together for the looming well being disaster posed by COVID-19, and to provide an opportunity to intra-Afghan negotiations between warring teams.
Related Press writers Kathy Gannon in Islamabad and Jon Gambrell in Dubai, UAE contributed to this report
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