Afghanistan: Sikh place of worship attacked in Kabul, 25 dead

26th Mar 2020
Afghanistan: Sikh place of worship attacked in Kabul, 25 dead

By Shadi Khan Saif

 

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA): A worship place for Afghanistan’s Sikh minority was attacked by armed terrorists in the capital Kabul on Wednesday, leaving at least 25 people dead, an official statement said.

As per initial reports, at least four terrorists stormed the Gurdwara in old Shor Bazar area, a densely populated neighborhood, at around 7.45 a.m. local time (0315GMT), Interior ministry spokesman Tareq Aryan told Anadolu Agency.

“The special forces of police are busy in clean-up operation inside the compound,” he added.

Hours later, the Interior Ministry said in a statement that the clean-up operation was over with the killing of one attacker. It said 25 people were killed, eight injured and 80 rescued.

Gunmen lobbed grenades and fired automatic rifle into the crowd, Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry  said.

According to Narendra Singh Khalsa, the only parliamentarian of the marginalized Sikh community, there were at least 150 worshippers and residents inside the worship place at the time of the attack.

Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib condemned the attack in a tweet while neighboring Pakistan and India both issued statements of condemnation. Pakistan described the attack as “heinous.”

“Such despicable acts have no political, religious or moral justification and must be rejected outright,” the Pakistani Foreign Ministry statement said.

Daesh terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack through their propaganda site.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed tweeted that the Taliban were not involved.

Earlier this month, Daesh attacked gathering of Shia Muslims in Kabul, killing 32 people.

The Afghan government, the U.S and Indian embassies in Kabul as well as Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry condemned the attack.

For years, the Sikh community in Afghanistan lived on the margins of the society. But, they were never targeted in the deadly fashion until Daesh terrorists blew up a generation of its community leaders in a suicide attack in Jalalabad city in July 2018.

The Afghan Sikhs and Hindus generally reside in communal compounds, in an apparently secluded environment to protect and preserve their cultural and religious identity.

Sikhs and Hindus gather in worship places on Fridays — a holiday in the country when markets generally remain closed — to cook vegetarian food, eat and pray together for peace and prosperity.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: Afghan security forces inspect the scene of attack of Sikh Gurdwara in Kabul, Afghanistan on March 25, 2020. Photographer: Haroon Sabawoon/AA]

 

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