Sikh man among 2 dead in terror attack on gurdwara in Kabul; 3 attackers killed

Afghan security personnel thwart bigger tragedy by stopping explosive-laden vehicle from reaching gurdwara

Tribune News Service

Ajay Banerjee

New Delhi/Kabul, June 18

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Nafi Takor on Saturday confirmed that attackers that stormed the Sikh gurdwara at Kart-e-Parwan area in Kabul have been killed.

Several blasts tore through the gurdwara, killing two persons, including a Sikh, and injuring seven others, while Afghan security personnel thwarted a bigger tragedy by stopping an explosive-laden vehicle from reaching the place of worship of the minority community in the war-torn country.

Charred gurdwara premises.

Takor also confirmed the death of a Sikh man in the gurdwara and an IEA soldier in the crossfire, while seven others were reported injured. 

Assailants belonging to ISIS Khursan had attacked the gurdwara early Saturday morning. 

Earlier in the day, Afghanistan-origin Sikhs living in the national capital, said they received calls from Gurnam Singh, president, Gurdwara Karte Parwan, informing them about the attack.

Manjinder Singh Sirsa of the BJP said he has spoken to Gurnam Singh who informed him that the incident occurred at 6 am local time when a granthi was going inside the gurdawara for morning 'parkash' of the Guru Granth Sahib. 'Parkash' is the first prayer in any gurdwara.

Reports also said "hostages were on the second floor of the gurdwara"Puneet Singh Chandhok, president, Indian World Forum, said Gurnam Singh had informed that the terrorists had launched a major attack. He called for immediate repatriation of minorities from Afghanistan.

There were less than 700 Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan at the time of the 2020 attack. Since then, dozens of families have left but many cannot financially afford to move and have remained in Afghanistan, mainly in Kabul, Jalalabad and Ghazni. Saturday's incident is the latest targeted attack on a place of worship of a minority community in Afghanistan.

 In March 2020, at least 25 worshippers were killed and eight others injured when a heavily armed suicide bomber stormed a prominent gurdwara in the heart of Kabul, in one of the deadliest attacks on the minority Sikh community in the country.

India expressed 'deep concern' over the attack, said "monitoring situation". In the latest targeted assault on a place of worship of the Sikh community in Afghanistan, Gurdwara Karte Parwan in Kabul’s Bagh-e Bala neighborhood was attacked early Saturday morning and a gun battle lasting several hours between the terrorists and Taliban fighters ensued, said Abdul Nafi Takor, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry.

The three attackers were killed by the Taliban forces, the Pajhwok news agency reported.

The attack is suspected to have been carried out by from ISIS Khurasan. Taliban forces are gearing to take them on. Many have been killed, but numbers are not known as gurudwara is out of bounds for civilians, says eyewitness to attack.

According to the statement from the Interior Ministry, an explosive-laden vehicle aiming to target the place was thwarted before reaching its goal.

The gurdwara was attacked early in the morning when up to 30 people were inside, the BBC reported.

Takor said a vehicle full of explosives was detonated outside of the gurdwara but that resulted in no casualties.

“First the gunmen threw a hand grenade which caused a fire near the gate of the gurdwara,” the Associated Press quoted the Interior Ministry spokesman as saying.

Khalid Zadran, a spokesman for the Kabul police chief, said the police operation ended after the last attacker was killed several hours later.

 “The security forces were able to act quickly to control the attack and eliminate the attackers in a short period of time to prevent further casualties,” he said.

Local residents told the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) news agency that four explosions occurred and the first one was comparatively heavy than rest of the three.

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the “barbaric” terrorist attack on a gurdwara in Kabul and said he was praying for the safety and well-being of the devotees.

“Shocked by the cowardly terrorist attack against the Karte Parwan Gurudwara in Kabul. I condemn this barbaric attack, and pray for the safety and well-being of the devotees,” Modi tweeted.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also strongly condemned the “cowardly attack” on a gurdwara in Kabul and said the government was closely monitoring the situation following the incident.

“The cowardly attack on Gurdwara Karte Parwan should be condemned in the strongest terms by all. We have been closely monitoring developments since the news of the attack was received. Our first and foremost concern is for the welfare of the community,” Jaishankar tweeted.

“We are deeply concerned at the reports emanating from Kabul about an attack on a sacred Gurdwara in that city. We are closely monitoring the situation and waiting for further details on the unfolding developments,” the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs also tweeted.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann strongly condemned the attack and urged the Centre to extend immediate assistance to ensure the safety of minorities in the Afghan capital.

BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa also condemned the attack on a gurdwara in Kabul and said the terror strike has shattered the Sikh community’s hope of peace in Afghanistan.

Earlier, local residents said they heard a huge blast early morning.

“We heard a huge blast in Kart-e-Parwan neighbourhood at around 6 am local time. The blast was followed by another explosion which occurred about half an hour after the first blast. The whole place has now been sealed off,” China’s state-run Xinhua news agency quoted an eyewitness as saying.

The blast sent a column of thick smoke into the sky and triggered panic, the witness said.

There were less than 700 Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan at the time of the 2020 attack. Since then, dozens of families have left but many cannot financially afford to move and have remained in Afghanistan, mainly in Kabul, Jalalabad and Ghazni, according to AP.

Some Afghan Sikhs and Hidus were shifted to the Afghan capital after the Taliban seized power in Kabul.

Since the Taliban took power in August last year, the country has seen continuing attacks by rival Sunni Muslim militant group Islamic State.

Saturday’s incident is the latest targeted attack on a place of worship of a minority community in Afghanistan. (With PTI inputs)

#Gurdwara #Kabul #Sikhs

12:22 18 Jun
1 dead, 2 hurt in terror attack

Rajya Sabha MP Vikram Sahney told The Tribune: “One Sikh man has died in the terror attack in Kabul. He has been identified as Shavinder Singh. Two others have been injured, while Sri Guru Granth Sahib Saroop has been saved and taken out.”

12:02 18 Jun
Ensure safe evacuation of Sikhs from Kabul: Raghav Chadha to govt
11:39 18 Jun
CM Manncondemns terror attack
11:16 18 Jun
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In 2020, 25 Sikhs were killed in terror attack in Kabul
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