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Afghanistan: 2 killed, 7 injured in IS-K attack on Sikh Gurdwara

19th Jun 2022
Afghanistan: 2 killed, 7 injured in IS-K attack on Sikh Gurdwara

By Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat

 

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA & Agencies): At least two people were killed and seven others injured when a Sikh temple in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul was hit by a bomb blast and gunfire on Saturday, an Afghan official said.

The Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack on Sikh Gurdwara in the Karta-e-Parwan area, saying it was retaliation for insults against the Prophet Muhammad in India

The attack targeted the temple in the Karte Parwan region early in the morning, said Abdul Nafi Takor, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry of the interim Taliban government.

The attackers were neutralized, he said, adding a Sikh worshipper and a Taliban member lost their lives in the attack.

The temple partially burned due to the attack and some houses around the temple were damaged, said the spokesperson.

According to eyewitnesses, the attack took place during a ceremony at the temple.

Taliban forces have blocked all the streets leading to the temple after the assault.

In a message posted on its Amaq site, the IS-K said Saturday’s attack targeted Hindus and Sikhs and the “apostates” who protected them in “an act of support for the Messenger of Allah”.

“Armed with a rifle, pistol and hand grenades, he proceeded to shoot,” the worshippers inside the temple, ISIS-K said.

ISIS-K also claimed its members had clashed with Taliban government fighters trying to reach the temple, targeting them with a car bomb and four other explosive devices.
It said the clashes between ISIS-K and the Taliban fighters had lasted three hours and that the suicide bomber al-Tajik had died in these exchanges.

The attack follows a visit by an Indian delegation to Kabul to discuss the distribution of humanitarian aid from India to Afghanistan.

“The IEA [Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan] strongly condemns the targeting of the Hindu shrine in Kabul by the enemies of the Afghan people. The IEA expresses its condolences to the families of the victims and assures that serious measures will be taken to identify and punish the perpetrators of this crime,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, tweeted.

The Pakistan foreign minister in a statement condemned the attack and said it is “seriously concerned at the recent spate of terrorist attacks on places of worship in Afghanistan.”  

In 2020, 25 people were killed in an armed attack on a Sikh temple in the Shor Bazar neighborhood of Kabul, for which Daesh, or ISIS, later claimed responsibility.

Small Sikh and Hindu communities are still living in Kabul. Afghanistan has a population of approximately 35 million, with almost 99.7% of them being Muslim.

Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan

Hindus and Sikhs have been living in Afghanistan for hundreds of years. Many in the communities work in trade and herbal medicine.

In the 1940s, Afghanistan’s Sikh and Hindu population rose to 250,000 people.

The Sikh and Hindu communities significantly shrunk after the 1979 Soviet invasion and the subsequent civil wars. Some of them settled in North America and Europe, while the majority went to India and Pakistan.

Sikhs and Hindus were ordered to wear yellow armbands and hoist yellow flags above their homes during the Taliban’s first rule from 1996 to 2001.

The Taliban, allowing them to live in the country and worship according to their religion’s rituals, referred to them as “dhimmah,” a historical term used for non-Muslims living in an Islamic country.

The majority of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus adopted Afghan traditions in order to blend in with the culture. Some among them communicate in Pashto or Dari, which are official languages in Afghanistan, publicly but only speak Punjabi at home.

[Map of Afghanistan from CIA Factbook/Public Domain]

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