India’s ambassador in Kabul visits attacked Gurudwara

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Kabul: India’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Vinay Kumar on Thursday visited the Sikh gurdwara where at least 25 worshippers were killed after it was attacked by a heavily armed suicide bomber and offered condolences to families of the victims of the horrific attack.

At least 25 worshippers were killed and eight others injured when a heavily armed suicide bomber stormed a prominent gurdwara on Wednesday in the heart of Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul, in one of the deadliest attacks on the minority Sikh community in the strife-torn country.

The Islamic State (IS) terror group, which has targeted Sikhs before in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attack in Shor Bazar area.

“Amb @vkumar1969 visited the gurudwara and met community leaders, elders and families of the victims of terrorist attack. He shared their grief and offered condolences.

“He was told that the injured are receiving satisfactory treatment,” the Indian embassy in Afghanistan said in a tweet.

The embassy also said it was working for the return of the mortal remains of Tian Singh, one of the deceased from Delhi, whose family wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help them bringing back the mortal remains.

“@IndianEmbKabul is working for the return of the mortal remains of Shri Tian Singh. @IndianEmbKabul will continue to provide all assistance to the community and families as may be required in these difficult days,” it said.

Prime Minister Modi said on Wednesday that he was “saddened” by the attack on the gurdwara when 150 worshippers were inside the building.

“I am saddened by today’s terror attack at Gurudwara in Kabul. I express my condolences to the families of all the deceased,” he said in a tweet.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) also condemned the attack that lasted for about six hours, terming it cowardly and reflective of a “diabolical mindset”.

“Such cowardly attacks on places of religious worship of the minority community, especially at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, is reflective of the diabolical mindset of the perpetrators and their backers,” it said in a statement.

The MEA said India stood in solidarity with the people, the government and the security forces of Afghanistan in their efforts for bringing peace and security to the country.

“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,” it said.

Photos from the blast scene showed security forces carrying wounded people away on stretchers.

Some Afghan media outlets shared videos of the family members of victims waiting outside a city hospital in tears.

Police in Kabul said that at least 11 children were rescued from the gurdwara.

Sikhs have been target of attacks by Islamist militants before in Afghanistan.

In July 2018, ISIS terrorists bombed a gathering of Sikhs and Hindus in the eastern city of Jalalabad, killing 19 people and injuring 20.

Awtar Singh Khalsa, one of the country’s best-known Sikh politicians then, was among those killed in the attack.

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