Gurudwara attacked in Kabul by Terrorists; 25 Killed

On 25th March 2020, 25 Sikhs were killed in a terror attack on a Gurudwara in Afghanistan’s Kabul. Islamic State (IS) has taken responsibility for the attack, however, some experts do not rule out the possibility of involvement of Pakistan’s Haqqani group which is backed by ISI.

Crux of the Matter

Persecution of Minority
The population of the minority community of Sikhs in Afghanistan has been dwindling at a fast rate, with only a couple of thousands of them remaining in Kabul.

On Wednesday, 25th March, 4 terrorists entered the Har Rai Sahib Gurudwara in Kabul at 7:45 AM Afghan time and opened fire. A Sikh local Mohan Singh who was in the Gurudwara while the attack began, said that there were gunshots followed by explosions, which he believes were hand grenades.

There were more than 100 people inside the Sikh temple, of which 25 fell victim to the terrorists and 10 were seriously injured. The Afghan Security forces reached the scene and rescued more than 80 people. After a 6-hour long standoff, the 4 terrorists were killed.

Thin Veil of the Real Attacker
Taliban issued a statement saying it had nothing to do with the attacks. Islamic State (IS) later claimed responsibility. IS stated that the attack was revenge against Indian actions in Kashmir. However, some experts have not debunked the notion that Pakistan’s ISI backed Haqqani group could be behind the attack. Leader of Haqqani Group, Sirajuddin Haqqani is also the Deputy Leader of the Taliban and both groups are allegedly funded by Pakistan’s ISI. Experts believe that behind the veil of various terror group names stands Pakistan.

Recent Geopolitical History
Agencies around the world condemned this terrorist attack. India introduced the Citizenship Amendment Act in December 2019 to give such persecuted minorities in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh a fast track towards Indian citizenship.

While the US-Taliban Peace Deal seems to be falling apart, terrorism continues in Afghanistan. Earlier this month, another minority community of Shia Muslims was targeted by a body of IS, resulting in the death of 32 people.

Curiopedia

Sikhism in Afghanistan is limited to small populations, primarily in major cities, with the largest numbers of Afghan Sikhs living in Jalalabad, Ghazni, Kabul, and to a lesser extent Kandahar. These Sikhs are Afghan nationals who speak Dari, Hindi and in their native Punjabi but also Pashto. Their total population is around 1,200 families or 8,000 members. There were over 20,000 Sikhs in Kabul in the 1980s, but after the start of the Civil War in 1992, most had fled. Seven of Kabul’s eight Gurdwaras were destroyed during the civil war. During the 1980s Soviet-Afghan War, many Afghan Sikhs fled to India, where 90% of global sikh population lives; a second, much larger wave followed following the 1992 fall of the Najibullah regime. Sikh gurdwaras (temples) throughout the country were destroyed in the Afghan Civil War of the 1990s, leaving only the Gurdwara Karte Parwan in Kabul. Under the Taliban, the Sikhs were a relatively tolerated religious minority, and allowed to practice their religion. However, the Sikh custom of cremation of the dead was prohibited by the Taliban, and cremation grounds vandalized. In addition, Sikhs were required to wear yellow patches or veils to identify themselves. They are centred today in Karte Parwan and some parts of the old city. There is no exact number of Sikhs in Kabul province. More Info

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