Left Menu
Development News Edition

Gunmen in Afghanistan kill 25 at Sikh complex, Islamic State claims responsibility

Reuters | Updated: 25-03-2020 21:53 IST | Created: 25-03-2020 21:53 IST
Gunmen in Afghanistan kill 25 at Sikh complex, Islamic State claims responsibility

Gunmen and suicide bombers raided a Sikh religious complex in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Wednesday, killing 25 people before security forces killed all of the attackers, the government said. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, saying it was revenge for India's treatment of Muslims in its portion of Kashmir and threatening further attacks.

Sikhs have been the target of violence by Islamist militants in South Asia before. Their community in Afghanistan numbers fewer than 300 families. Several hours after the early morning attack began, Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said an operation by the security forces was over and all the attackers had been killed. He did not say how many.

The ministry said 25 people who had been in the religious compound had been killed, eight wounded and 80 rescued. Narender Singh Khalsa, a member of parliament who represents the Sikh community, said he had received reports that up to 200 people had been trapped in the complex during the attack.

"Three suicide bombers entered a dharamsala," he said, referring to a sanctuary area in a temple compound. "The gunmen started their attack at a time when the dharamsala was full of worshippers." The day had started as usual, according to members of the Sikh community, with the more than 100 living in the complex beginning worship and some joining from outside around 6 a.m.

An hour later, their prayers were interrupted when attackers killed a guard on the way into the compound and began shooting in the shrine before security forces arrived and residents fled to another area of the compound to shelter. "The children were very scared, still they are crying and shouting. They will not forget this incident, they are in bad mental states," said Gurnam Singh, 30, a witness.

INTERNATIONAL CONDEMNATION Several members of Harander Singh's family were killed.

"The attackers arrived on the stairs and started killing the women. My nephew shouted and said to me 'Uncle, please go downstairs', and when I tried to go downstairs, they shot my nephew in the head," he said. His wife, father and young daughter were also killed.

"My dearest daughter was wounded, and she was repeatedly calling me 'Dad' before she died," he said, through tears. In the late 1980s, there were about 500,000 Sikhs scattered across Afghanistan, but most fled after years of civil war and the rise of the Taliban.

A Taliban spokesman, in a message on Twitter, denied responsibility for the attack. Human rights activists, Afghan government officials and countries including the United States, India and Pakistan condemned the attack.

In 2018, a suicide bombing targeting the Sikh community and claimed by Islamic State killed more than a dozen people in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad. The attack was carried out a day after the United States said it would cut aid to the government by $1 billion over frustrations that feuding political leaders could not reach agreement and form a team to negotiate with the Taliban.

President Ashraf Ghani said he had directed deputy ministers to save $1 billion in security and defence spending, while maintaining the quality of security forces. An official with Afghanistan's NATO mission said the response to the attack had been led and executed by Afghan forces, with some advice and assistance from NATO.

Wednesday's violence was the second big attack against a minority group claimed by the Islamic State this month. More than 30 people were shot dead in a gathering attended by many members of the ethnic Hazara community marking the anniversary of the death of a Hazara leader.



Rethinking Rural Livelihoods in the Times of COVID-19

The reverse migration caused by COVID 19 pandemic has put an additional burden of about one crore people on Indian villages particularly in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal and Odisha. Besides increasing the risk of spreading the ...

‘Discounted Deaths’ and COVID 19: Anthropology of Death and Emotions

Death is a social event rather than the mere cessation of biological functions. As seen by anthropologists, death is not just physical but intensely social, cultural, and political....

Indigenous knowledge of communities a must for maximizing impact of community work

Generally, it has been observed that the majority of the academicians in higher education institutions neglect the wisdom of community people and throw their weight around thinking that they know everything and the community knows nothing. ...

In rebuking FBR, Pakistan’s courts take a stand for public health

The system, if implemented effectively, will allow Pakistans revenue service to combat the illicit trade in tobacco products and potentially add hundreds of millions of dollars to the states budget each year. ...


Latest News

India will definitely get its growth back soon: PM Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that self-reliance will be Indias priority in the face of coronavirus crisis and assured India Inc that economic growth will return soon as the country leaves behind lockdown period and enters Un...

Hashtag Climate Warrior: Amitabh Bachchan pledges to be 'climate conscious'

Ahead of the World Environment Day, veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan on Tuesday pledged to be climate-conscious in a bid to protect nature. The World Environment Day, which is observed on June 5 annually, is taken as an opportunity to encoura...

Spotify to add 8 minute 46 seconds track of silence to playlists, podcasts to pay tribute to George Floyd

The music-streaming platform Spotify has announced that it will add an 8 minute and 46-second track of silence to select playlists and podcasts to pay tribute to George Floyd. June 2 is Black Out Tuesday, a day of collective disconnect from...

Trump threatens to use military to quell violent protests over African-American's custodial death

President Donald Trump has threatened to deploy the military if the states fail to take necessary actions to dominate the streets and quell the violent protests that have spread across the country over the custodial killing of African-Ameri...

Give Feedback