Islamic State (ISIS) In Afghanistan Carries Out Deadly Attack On Hindu And Sikh Temple In Kabul In Retaliation For Indian Officials' Perceived Insults To Prophet Muhammad

June 19, 2022

The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here. 

On June 18, 2022, ISKP (Islamic State in Khorasan Province) claimed responsibility for an attack on a "temple of Hindus and Sikhs" in Kabul carried out that morning.[1]According to the claim, which was issued in two versions by ISIS news agencies Nasher and A’maq, "around 50 Sikhs and Hindus and Taliban" were killed or injured, in what ISIS defines as a "complex attack" carried out by an inghimasi fighter.[2]

According to ISIS "military sources," the inghimasi operative entered the temple after killing a guard at the entrance. The operative’s name, Abu Muhammad Al-Tajiki, suggests he was from Tajikistan. Armed with a rifle, handgun and hand grenades, Al-Tajiki opened fire on the “pagan worshipers of the two sects" inside the temple.

An image of the attacker Abu Muhammad Al-Tajiki standing in front of an ISIS flag, before he carried out the operation.

Subsequently, other ISIS operatives outside the temple detonated four IED's (improvised explosive devices) and a car bomb on the Taliban security forces trying to reach the temple. The Taliban, according to the sources quoted in the report, failed repeatedly to enter the temple and get to the inghimasi operative, who "resisted" during the over three-hour clashes with security forces until he was eventually killed.

According to the A'maq report, as a result of the attack, around "30 Sikhs and Hindus" were killed or wounded and the temple was significantly damaged. Following the five explosions and the clashes with Taliban forces, an additional 20 Taliban members were killed or wounded, and a number of their vehicles disabled.

The operation, according to the claims, was in response to derogatory comments against the Prophet Muhammad made recently by two Indian government officials. The ISIS report points out that members of the Indian government were received by the Taliban in early June.[3]

In recent days, ISIS has repeatedly condemned the Taliban for their cooperation with the Indian government. [4] The Al-'Aza'im Media Foundation, a pro-ISIS outlet which releases material in Tajik, Pashto, and other languages, published a new Pashto-language magazine, "The Sons of Cows and Their New Friends," on June 8, 2022. The first issue disparaged the "Taliban militia" for maintaining relations with the "mocking Hindus." The magazine lashed out at the Taliban government in Afghanistan for merely condemning the perceived blasphemous remarks of the BJP leaders, rather than sending assassins to India to kill them. The magazine also condemned Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid's statement that the religious and civil rights of all minorities were secure in Afghanistan, and that Shi'ites, Sikhs (the victims of the latest ISIS attack), and Hindu countrymen were freely performing their religious rituals in Afghanistan.[5]

The June 18 attack was not the first carried out by ISKP against the Sikh minority in Afghanistan. On March 25, 2020, the group claimed responsibility for an attack on a Sikh Gurdwara in Kabul, "in retaliation for the Muslims in Kashmir."[6]

In June 2021, ISKP attacked a store owned by “polytheist” Sikhs near one of their temples in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, in Nangarhar province, causing three casualties.[7]


[1] Telegram, June 19, 2022.

[2] Inghimasi fighters carry out commando-style raids alone or in small groups behind enemy lines and are likely to be killed in the operation.

[3] “India sends diplomats to Kabul for talks with the Taliban,” June 2, 2022.

[6] See MEMRI JTTM Report: ISIS Claims Deadly Attack On Sikh Center In Kabul, March 25, 2020.

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