Gunmen launched attack on a Sikh temple in central Kabul, today, Wednesday, March 25, killing nearly 25 civilians and wounding eight others, Afghan security authorities confirmed.

The attack continued for nearly six hours and Afghan security forces rescued Silk families who were taken hostage by the gunmen, said Tariq Arian, a spokesperson for the Afghan ministry of interior.   

The Islamic State of Khurasan Province (ISKP), an outfit of Islamic State, has claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has a long record of targeted attacks. Previously, it carried out dozens of deadly attacks on Shia community of Afghanistan, killing thousands of innocent civilians, including children and women.

Narinder Singh, an MP who represents Sikh community, confirmed the death toll left by the attack.

Anarkali Kaur Honaryar, a Sikh member of the Afghan Senate, has told The New York Times that a Muslim, who was guarding the temple, was also killed in the attack.    

The attack was widely condemned by national and international institutions, rights organizations and diplomatic missions.

The Sikh and Hindu community of Afghanistan is a persecuted religious minority group in the country. In July 2018, a suicide bomber detonated his explosive, claiming lives of 19 Afghan Sikhs. The suicide bombing wiped out the entire educated community of Sikh and Hindu, including Awtar Singh Khalsa, a civil activist and the only Sikh candidate running for 2018 parliamentary election.

Over last years, most Sikh and Hindu families have been forced to sell their properties in major Afghan cities of Ghazni, Herat and Jalalabad, with now a tiny number of them living in central Kabul, known as ancient Kabul.  

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