Attack on Kabul Gurudwara leaves 27 Sikhs dead; India condemns incident, suspects ISI role

After the attack, the ISIL claimed that it had killed several people and left over 150 people injured on its website - Amaq.

Attack on Kabul Gurudwara leaves 27 Sikhs dead; India condemns incident, suspects ISI role

KABUL: A group of heavily armed gunmen attacked a Gurudwara in the Shor Bazar area of Kabul on Wednesday (March 25, 2020), killing at least 27 Sikhs and injuring over 150 people who were present during the time of the incident. New Delhi has trongly condemned the attck on the Sikh Gurudwar in Kabul.

''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. Such cowardly attacks on the places of religious 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. We commend the brave Afghan security forces for their valorous response to the attack and their exemplary courage and dedication to protect the Afghan people and secure the country. India stands in solidarity with the people, the Government and the security forces of Afghanistan in their efforts for bringing peace and security to the country,'' the MEA said in a release.

Though the Islamic State group has claimed the responsibility for the attack on the a Sikh Guridwara located in central Kabul, according to the SITE intelligence group, the Indian security agencies believe that the deadly attack was orchestrated by Pakistan’s  'ISI' which is backing ISKP to counter Taliban which has recently signed peace deal with the United States. 

"Taliban will deny so that they are projected as responsible organisation in line with US Taliban agreement. The ISI will use the name of ISKP or unknown outfits to claim responsibility" an officer working in a Central Security establishment told Zee News. After the attack, the ISIL claimed that it had killed several people and left over 150 people injured on its website - Amaq.

IS said that its fighters were currently carrying out an attack on the temple, according to a statement released by SITE, which monitors jihadist networks worldwide.

The Afghan security sources had told the country’s media that the Haqqani Network, an ISI controlled group which is part of Taliban, wanted to attack the Indian Mission in Kabul but could not do so due to tight security cover.

Hence, they attacked the Gurudwara instead, they added.

The Ashraf Ghani government has also blamed the Pakistan-backed Haqqani network for the terror attack.

Though, no one had initially claimed responsibility for the attack but later Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted and clarified the Taliban were not involved.

Under the Taliban rule, all minorities including Sikh were asked to identify themselves by wearing yellow armbands.

News agency Reuters claimed that the death toll was slightly higher. More than 30 people were killed and 42 wounded, 20 of whom were in a serious condition, the agency reported.

This is the deadliest attack since the peace deal was signed between US and the Taliban in Doha, where the US has agreed to completely withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. 

At the same time, Pakistan has taken advantage of this opportunity to help terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan.  

"The attack started with a boom, apparently a rocket landed in the area, Abdullah and some other politicians ... escaped the attack unhurt," Fraidoon Kwazoon, Abdullah's spokesman, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Sources said Afghan security forces were engaged in a gun battle with terrorists who stormed Gurudwara in the Shorbazar area Wednesday morning. Around 150 people were worshipping in the Gurudwara at the time of the attack.

However, the security forces, sources said, rescued some worshippers from the Gurudwara. The Sikhs constitute a minuscule minority in Afghanistan.