Afghanistan conflict: Militants storm Sikh temple in Kabul

A British soldier with NATO-led Resolute Support Mission forces arrives at the site of an attack in Kabul Afghanistan Wednesday

The Interior Ministry said the first floor of the Gurdwara had been cleared but that Afghan special forces, aided by worldwide troops, were moving slowly throughout the remainder of the building.

Afghan security forces killed all three terrorists in a day-long gun-battle after which North Atlantic Treaty Organisation soldiers helped with the clearance operation.

Security forces cordon off the area located in old Kabul and are engaged in gun battle with attackers, officials say. The assault on the temple in the Afghan capital left at least 25 people dead, another eight wounded and dozens more in need of rescue, according to the country's Ministry of Interior.

Reacting to the terror attack, India's Housing and Urban Minister and a former diplomat Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday tweeted, "Suicide attack on a Gurudwara Sahib in Kabul needs to be strongly condemned". The Sikhs constitute a minuscule minority in Afghanistan.

"India stands ready to extend all possible assistance to the affected families of the Hindu and Sikh community of Afghanistan", it said while expressing condolence to the families of the victims.

The Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack via the online Amaq news agency, which it uses to distribute statements.

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Thirty years ago it was 500,000 strong, but after decades of conflict and the rise of the Taliban - who ordered Sikhs to wear yellow armbands - many have sought asylum in India and the community is now thought to be reduced to around 300 families. Earlier this month, Afghanistan's Islamic State affiliate struck a gathering of minority Shiite Muslims in Kabul, killing 32 people.

This is the deadliest attack since the peace deal was signed between the U.S. and Taliban in Doha, where the U.S. has agreed to completely withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Kabul on Tuesday in a bid to resolve a standoff between President Ghani and his rival Abdullah, who also proclaims himself president following a contested election.

Sikhs have been the target of attack by Islamist militants before in South Asia.

Afghan security sources speaking to Afghan Media also stated that the Haqqani network, an ISI controlled group that is part of the Taliban, wanted to attack the Indian mission in Kabul but failed due to tight security.

"The authorities", added the human rights group, "have a responsibility to protect minorities and their places of worship in Afghanistan".

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