Ter­ror at­tack kills 25 in Kabul

Miami Herald - - WORLD - — THE NEW YORK TIMES


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.

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