Gunmen attack Sikh religious complex in Kabul, Afghan MP says

Afghan Police patrols near the site of a suicide attack in Kabul Afghanistan

A Sikh woman wounded in the attack is brought to a hospital in Kabul. "India stands ready to extend all possible assistance to the affected families of the Hindu and Sikh community of Afghanistan", a statement shared by External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said.

At least one attacker was subsequently killed by security forces in an hours-long clearing operation.

Pakistan's foreign office in a press release issued on Wednesday strongly condemns the heinous terrorist attack on a Gurdwara in Kabul earlier in the day, ARY News reported.

It's not the first time that the Islamist militant group has attacked the Sikh community in Afghanistan, a small religious minority that numbers fewer than 300 families across the country, according to NPR's Diaa Hadid.

The attack, which took place in the Shor Bazaar area of Kabul, triggered a military confrontation between the security forces and the attackers, with Afghan special forces blocking off the area to avoid more casualties, Interior Ministry Spokesperson Tariq Arian was quoted as saying by AP.

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However, Indian intelligence agencies believe that the attack is orchestrated by Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI and the country is promoting the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP) as a check on the Taliban. "There are about 150 people inside the temple". Wednesday's slaughter was the second Isis attack on a religious minority this month; a gathering of the predominantly Shia Hazara ethnic minority was also attacked earlier in March, with more than 30 people killed.

"We commend the courageous Afghan security forces for their valorous response to the attack and their exemplary courage and dedication to protect the Afghan people and secure the country".

No one immediately claimed responsibility of the attack but later, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted and clarified the Taliban was not involved in it. Though the United States and Taliban have signed a peace deal, violence in Afghanistan remains unabated.

The decision came after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Kabul in a bid to resolve a standoff between President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah, who also is proclaiming himself president following a contested election.

"We are shocked and disheartened. the authorities have a responsibility to protect minorities and their places of worship in Afghanistan", Amnesty International South Asia said on Twitter.

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