Terror attack kills 25 in Kabul
Militants stormed a crowded Sikh temple and housing complex in Kabul on Wednesday, killing at least 25 people in a six-hour siege just as war-ravaged Afghanistan is starting to struggle with the global coronavirus contagion.
The attackers, believed to be Islamic State extremists, struck on a day when nationwide cases of the virus nearly doubled from 24 hours earlier. Officials feared the actual spread is even wider.
The western city of Herat, with roughly 4 million residents, reported 58 positive cases and was put under lockdown. The area shares a porous border with Iran, where the contagion has been especially severe.
Islamic State loyalists claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant media sites. Once waging frequent deadly attacks against vulnerable targets in Afghanistan’s urban centers, the Islamic State has shrunk in size because of sustained military operations by Afghan and American forces as well as hostility from Taliban insurgents, who view Islamic State militants as trespassers on their turf.
Hindus and Sikhs, once numbering in the hundreds of thousands in the country, are oppressed minorities who have been frequently attacked in recent years. Only a couple hundred Hindu and Sikh families remain in Afghanistan, with the rest migrating to India or the West over the past four decades.