By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: Gunmen stormed a religious gathering of Afghanistan’s minority Sikhs in their place of worship (gurdwara) in the heart of Kabul’s old city on Wednesday, killing 25 people, according to Ministry of Interior.
Within hours, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack. Those killed included a child whose body was brought to a Kabul hospital, the emergency services and the hospital said. At least 8 people were injured.
The Ministry of Interior said another 80 people were rescued during the special forces’ operation in the area and our attackers were killed.
The attackers targeted a ‘dharamshala’ in Shor Bazaar area of Kabul, which has a sizeable population of the Hindu and Sikh minorities. Some reports said the attack began at 7.45 am Afghan time.
Photos posted on social media by Afghan journalists showed security forces and local residents evacuating the injured in ambulances.
The Shor Bazaar area of Kabul was once home to several gurdwaras, but they were destroyed during the fighting in the 1980s. Many Hindus and Sikhs living in the area also migrated to other countries. Kabul is still home to several thousand Hindus and Sikhs.
India on Wednesday strongly condemned the attack on a gurdwara in Kabul as a heinous act. In a statement, the Indian embassy in Kabul said: “We convey our sincerest condolences to the immediate family members of the deceased and wish speedy recovery to the injured.
“India stands ready to extend all possible assistance to the affected families of the Hindu and Sikh community of Afghanistan.”
The embassy said 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.”
India also commended the brave Afghan security forces for their response to the attack and their exemplary courage and dedication to protect the Afghan people.
India stood in solidarity with the people, government and security forces of Afghanistan in their efforts for bringing peace and security in the country, the statement concluded.
Pakistan also on Wednesday strongly condemned the terrorist attack on a gurdwara in Kabul, resulting in the loss of precious lives and injuries to several worshippers.
“Such despicable attacks have no political, religious or moral justification and must be rejected outright,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.
“Our hearts go out to the families who have lost their loved ones in this inhuman act and we pray for the swiftest recovery of the injured,” it added.
“We also express our abiding solidarity with the fraternal people of Afghanistan. Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” the ministry said.