In response to the Islamic State terrorist attack on a Sikh temple in Afghanistan yesterday, the Hindu American Foundation released the following statement :
“We’re deeply saddened and shocked by this cowardly attack on a Sikh gurdwara in Afghanistan that housed innocent Sikh and Hindu worshipers” stated HAF Managing Director Samir Kalra, Esq. “Tragically, this is only the latest example in a decades-old pattern of persecution and violence faced by the dwindling Sikh and Hindu community in Afghanistan.”
According to Afghanistan security services and media reports, 25 people were killed and at least 8 others injured by four suicide bombers at the prominent Dharamshala Temple in the Shor Bazar area of Kabul. About 150 worshipers were inside the temple at the time of the attack including women and children.
The Islamic State, or Daesh, claimed responsibility for today’s attack. Some Afghan experts, however, have pointed to a possible role of the Haqqani group and Lashkar-e-Taiba, both of whom are supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
In July 2018, a suicide bomber attacked a convoy of Sikhs and Hindus en route to meet President Ashraf Gani, resulting in the deaths of 19 and wounding 20 others. There are only an estimated 200 Sikh and Hindu families left in Afghanistan.
In a press briefing this afternoon, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo acknowledged that “Terrorist attacks by ISIS…and al-Qaeda are increasing in the Sahel.”
“The United States condemns the horrific ISIS-K claimed attack on a Sikh temple and community center in Kabul this morning which took the lives of more than two dozen innocent people. The Afghan people deserve a future free from ISIS-K and other terrorist activity,” Pompeo stated.
Last month, members of a local terrorist group in Dhaka, Bangladesh were arrested before carrying out a planned terrorist attack on a Hindu temple.
“Given the anticipated US withdrawal from Afghanistan and increased violence against religious minorities in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, we can expect more terrorist attacks in the region this year targeting Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and other religious minorities who rely and look to India as the only safe haven in the region,” Kalra said.