8 women among 25 killed in Kabul gurdwara attack

Twenty-five devotees, including eight women, were killed and eight others wounded in one of the deadliest attacks on the Sikh minority community in Afghanistan at Har Rai Sahib in the capital. Kabul Agencies said on Wednesday morning that a suicide bomber attacked the gurdwara and the so-called Islamic State, which previously attacked the Sikhs in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.

However, the Sikh residents of Kabul, including one devotee who was in the gurdwara at the time of the attack, told TOI over the phone that multiple terrorists were seen at the time of the attack.

A Sikh resident, who did not wish to be named, said pilgrims had assembled at the gurdwara to pray for the well-being of humanity and the elimination of when they were attacked. India reacted by saying that such cowardly attacks on places of religious worship of the minority community, especially at this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, reflected the diabolical mindset of the perpetrators and their backers. I am saddened by the terror attack at the gurdwara in Kabul. I express my condolences to the families of all the deceased, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

The attack comes in the context of the peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban. However, the agreement does not cover IS operatives. The Taliban issued a statement denying that it had anything to do with the attack. Sikh pilgrims told TOI that the group of terrorists entered the gurdwara complex and began firing indiscriminately at devotees.

Afghanistan's interior ministry confirmed that 25 people were killed in the attack. He said about 80 people were rescued by the Afghan gurdwara special forces. Another Sikh devotee, who resides in the gurdwara, sent a video to TOI showing him and his family huddled in a corner of the house. The Sikh devotee, who is seen with his head uncovered in the video, said that together with his uncle they had left a room in the gurdwara around 8 a.m. when they saw three bodies: two Sikhs and a person in a security uniform.

Then he saw a terrorist whom he mistook as a security man in civilizations. He said the terrorist shot him and barely escaped. The terrorist dropped a bomb on the gurdwara complex that did not explode. In another video uploaded to social networks, the Sikh deputy from Afghanistan is heard saying that the police did not allow him to enter the gurdwara and that he does not know how many devotees had died in the attack. He told a news agency that three suicide bombers entered the sanctuary.

In a statement, the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “We convey our condolences to the immediate families of the deceased and wish a speedy recovery to the injured. India is ready to extend all possible aid to affected families in Afghanistan's Hindu and Sikh communities.