New Delhi, March 26, 2020:
India has strongly condemned the terror attack on a Gurudwara in Kabul that left twenty-five people dead and ten injured on Wednesday and took a pledge to aid the Sikh and Hindu minorities in Afghanistan.
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The attack began in the morning and went on till midday. The standoff between the attackers and security forces went on for six hours. All the four attackers have been reportedly killed by Afghan and foreign security forces, thereby ending the standoff just at the place of worship.
The attackers temporarily had taken around 200 devotees hostage during this time. The Islamic State (IS) has claimed the attack, with a statement issued by the group to the Afghan media saying its members carried out the assault.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in a statement 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 recovery to the injured. India stands ready to extend all possible assistance to the affected families of the Hindu and Sikh community of Afghanistan.”
India has also appreciated the Afghan security forces which freed the hostages and eliminated the fighters. It may be mentioned here that the attackers targeted a ‘dharamshala’ in Shor Bazar area of Kabul, which has a sizeable population of the Hindu and Sikh minorities. Reports said the attack began at 7.45 AM Afghan time.
Afghan interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian confirmed 25 people were killed and eight others injured. He said that more than 80 people, including women and children, were rescued by the Afghan special forces. Afghan MP Narender Singh Khalsa said up to 150 people were praying at the ‘dharamshala’ when the attack began.
Arian told the media that the suicide attackers entered the ‘dharamshala’ and began exchanging fire with security forces. Meanwhile, the Taliban denied involvement in the attack in messages sent to the Afghan media.
Afghan officials said that the information obtained by security agencies suggested the Haqqani Network, which has close ties to Pakistan’s security establishment, could have been behind the attack.
“Such cowardly attacks on the places of religious worship of the minority community, especially at this time of Covid-19 pandemic, are reflective of the diabolical mindset of the perpetrators and their backers,” the external affairs ministry said in the statement.
It needs mention here that this is the first strike against a minority community of Afghanistan after India passed a new citizenship law in December, 2019, which announced amnesty for persecuted minority religious communities of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
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