Kabul, March 25
At least 25 worshippers were killed and eight others injured when a heavily armed suicide bomber stormed his way into a prominent gurdwara today in the heart of Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul, in one of the deadliest attacks on the minority Sikh community in the strife-torn country.
The Islamic State (IS), which has targeted Sikhs before in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attack on the gurdwara in Shor Bazar area around 7.45 am (local time) as 150 worshippers were inside the building.
“Unfortunately, 25 civilians were killed and eight others injured,” the Ministry of Interior said on the attack carried out by a gunman, who was killed by Afghan special forces. It said 80 persons, including women and children, stranded inside the gurdwara were rescued by the security forces.
Earlier, the Afghan media reported the attack that lasted about six hours was carried out by four terrorists.
The IS issued a statement confirming its members carried out the attack on Sikhs in Kabul city, Khaama Press News Agency reported.
VIDEO: Foreign troops and Afghan special forces at the scene of an attack on Dharamshala, a Sikh worship place in #Kabul. The 6-hour attack finished after all four attackers were killed. #Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/yMybogxjDW— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) March 25, 2020
TOLOnews, quoting sources in the Afghan government, blamed the Haqqani group for the attack. The Pakistan-based Haqqani group, designated by the US as a banned terror outfit, has conducted several deadly attacks inside Afghanistan.
Suicide attack on a Gurudwara Sahib in Kabul needs to be strongly condemned. 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. pic.twitter.com/yQM3u41dVI— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) March 25, 2020
Earlier, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement the militant group had no link with the attack in Shor Bazar area of Kabul. Police in Kabul said at least 11 children were rescued from the gurdwara.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack. “The attack on the religious sites shows the extreme weakness of the enemy, religious sites should not be vulnerable to attacks and violence,” he said. In New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened by the attack. - PTI
Reflects diabolical mindset, say MEA
New Delhi, March 25
The government as well as ruling BJP emphasised on the minority community aspect while condemning the terrorist attack on Gurdwara Guru Har Rai in Kabul.
The BJP questioned Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and others “opposing” the CAA — the controversy issue occupying political mind space before Covid-19 took over the centre stage. Making pointed reference to targeting of a minority place of worship, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) suggested there was a pattern behind it. It also offered to extend all possible assistance to the affected families of the Hindu and Sikh community of Afghanistan.
“Such cowardly attacks on the places of worship of the minority community, especially at this time of Covid-19 pandemic, is reflective of the diabolical mindset of the perpetrators and their backers,” said an MEA statement while conveying the government’s sincerest condolences to the victims’ kin.
Union Minister Hardeep Puri said, “Suicide attack on the Kabul gurdwara needs to be strongly condemned. “
BJP’s Delhi leader RP Singh said he hoped, “Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh and others who are opposing CAA will have answer for attack.”
The Rashtriya Sikh Sangat has sought PM’s intervention to ensure safety and security of Sikhs and Hindus trapped in the shrine and their properties. Sangat president GS Gill condemned the attack. — PTI/TNS
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