Afghan gunmen storm Sikh temple in Kabul

An Afghan policeman gestures as cars are stopped and searched at a road checkpoint in Kabul. March 22, 2020Image copyright

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Clashes between security forces and militants are not uncommon in Kabul

Afghan security forces are battling gunmen who stormed a Sikh-Hindu temple in central Kabul, reportedly holding an unknown number of worshippers hostage.

Police said the attack on the temple in the Shorbazar area began at about 07:45 (03:15 GMT).

Witnesses reported hearing explosions and gunfire.

Afghan special forces sealed off the area and are engaged in a gun battle with the attackers. It is not known if there are any casualties.

“People are stuck inside the building and [security forces] are trying to rescue them,” interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told AFP news agency.

Anarkali Kaur Honaryar, a Sikh MP in the Afghan parliament, said people were hiding inside the temple and their phones were switched off.

“I am very concerned,” he said. “There are about 150 people inside the temple. Families are living there and they usually gather to offer prayers in the mornings.”

No group has said it carried out the attack.

Afghanistan is currently mired in a political stalemate with two politicians both claiming victory in the presidential election.

The US has been trying to break the deadlock and also save a deal it signed with the Taliban militant group that is supposed to pave the way for peace in Afghanistan.

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