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At least 11 people were killed and others injured when suspected suicide attackers stormed a Sikh place of worship in the Afghan capital on Wednesday, triggering a gun battle with security forces, according to media reports. The attackers targeted a ‘dharamshala’ in Shor Bazar area of Kabul, which has a sizeable population of the Hindu and Sikh minorities. Some reports said the attack began at 7.45 am Afghan time. Leading Afghan news channel cited a security source as saying that at least 11 people were killed and 11 others injured in the attack. Three attackers were still fighting with security forces and one had been shot, the channel reported. Photos posted on social media by Afghan journalists showed security forces and local residents evacuating the injured in ambulances. Earlier, interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told the media suicide bombers had entered the dharamshala in Shor Bazar and were fighting with security forces. “More forces are arriving at the area,” he said. The Afghan security forces had cleared the first floor of the Sikh place of worship and rescued a “number of people” who were trapped inside the building, Arian said. Media reports said dozens of people were still trapped in the building and there were fears the attackers had taken hostages. The Taliban denied involvement in the attack in messages sent to the Afghan media. Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri “strongly condemned” the attack. “These killings are a grim reminder of atrocities that continue to be inflicted upon religious minorities in some countries & the urgency with which their lives & religious freedom have to be safeguarded,” he tweeted. The Shor Bazar area of Kabul was once home to several gurdwaras but they were destroyed during the fighting in the 1980s. Many Hindus and Sikhs living in the area also migrated to other countries. Kabul is still home to several thousand Hindus and Sikhs.

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