Introduction: In a henious terror attack at Gurudwara Guru Har Rai Kabul, 11 Sikh devotees have been injured, initial reports suggest that more than 100 people have been held captive inside the premises.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh requested the president Ashraf Ghani to find out the perpetrators and help the Indians affected due to the incident.
“Horrific news coming from Kabul where a barbaric terror attack happened in the Gurudwara Guru Har Rai. It’s extremely tragic and unfortunate. Request President @AshrafGhani Ji to find out the perpetrators and look out for our people,” tweeted Punjab CM.
India’s Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri also condemned the attack.
“Suicide attack on Gurudwara Sahib in Kabul needs to be strongly condemned. These killings are grim reminder of atrocities that continue to be inflicted upon religious minoritiesin some countries & the urgency with which their lives & religious freedom have to be safeguarded,” he tweeted.
Suicide bombers had entered the Dharamshala in Shor Bazar and were fighting with the security forces, interior ministry spokesperson Tariq Arian was quoted as saying by leading Afghan News channel Tolo News. At least 25, people are dead due to the attack. The Islamic State has claimed the responsibility.
There was an immediate condemnation from India and United States, with demands for justice.
Four terrorists, including suicide bombers, attacked Gurudwara Har Rai Sahib in Kabul at around 7:45am local time (8:45 IST). There were around 120 people inside the gurudwara, including 20 families, when the attack began, as per media reports.
According to the SITE, which monitors jihadists networks, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack. It took six hours for Afghan security forces to end the attack after killing all the four terrorists. The Afghan ministry of interior stated that at least 25 people were killed and eight wounded in the attack. In total, 80 people including women and children were rescued, said the ministry’s statement.
Videos and photos from the attack showed scared and crying children being ferried out of the site. In another video children were whimpering, while officials took down their names.
The Islamic State has previously attacked a gathering of Hindus and Sikhs, who were waiting to meet Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, in Jalanabad in 2018, leaving 19 dead.
There are reportedly only a couple of hundred Hindus and Sikhs left in Afghanistan – the remnants of a larger and prosperous community. Most of them started to migrate to India and the West from Afghanistan over the years, especially after the Taliban ruled Kabul and imposed severe restrictions on minorities.
In a statement condemning the attack, India said that it was ready to extend all possible assistance to the affected families of the Hindu and Sikh community in Afghanistan.
“Such cowardly attacks on the places of religious 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 the statement issued by Ministry of External Affairs.
The reference to ‘backers’ in the Indian statement is a dig at Pakistan. While Islamic State has taken responsibility for the attack, Indian officials consider the IS as yet another front that is supported by Islamabad.
India praised Afghan security forces for their “valorous response to the attack and their exemplary courage and dedication to protect the Afghan people and secure the country”.
The Taliban have agreed to a “reduction in violence”, but the Islamic State in Afghanistan are not part of the peace process and have carried out several attacks since the signing of the peace agreement.
According to reports, one of the ISIS terrorists who was one of the attackers belonged to Kerela and had left to join ISIS in 2018.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences to the families of the victims killed in the attack.