A Sikh place of worship in the Afghan capital was targeted by suspected suicide bombers on Wednesday morning, 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 about 7.45 am Afghan time.

Suicide bombers had entered the dharamshala in Shor Bazar and were fighting with security forces, interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian was quoted as saying by leading Afghan news channel Tolo News. “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 had been trapped inside the building, Arian said. Efforts were on to rescue other survivors, he added.

Ambulances and Afghan special forces were also sent to the site.

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.