Sikh Gurdwara in Kabul: ISIS attack on Kart-e-Parwan historic temple leaves two dead, attackers also killed

The attack has come for widespread criticism

Minorities – Hindus and Sikhs – in Afghanistan were shocked to their bones when a Sikh Gurdwara at Kart-e-Parwan was attacked by the ISIS activists at 6 in the morning leaving two persons, including a Sikh, dead.

A large number of Hindu and Sikh families had taken shelter in the Gurdwara. The attack occurred when a Granthi Singh was getting ready to do “Prakash” of Sri Guru Granth Sahib by reciting the morning prayers.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Nafi Takor on confirmed that attackers that stormed the Sikh gurdwara at Kart-e-Parwan area in Kabul have been killed.

He also confirmed the death of a Sikh man in the gurdwara and an IEA soldier in the crossfire, while seven others were reported injured. The gunfight between the terrorists and the Afghan army was over, the media reports said. Exact number of causalities in the attack was still not known.

The reports suggested that the attack was executed by activists belonging to  the ISIS Khursan.

The news about the attack was broken by Gurnam Singh, President of the Kart-e- Parwan Gurdwara, as he called various Afghani Sikhs living in New Delhi this morning.

Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said in a tweet that “the cowardly attack on Gurdwara Kart-e-Parwan should be condemned in the strongest terms by all. We have been closely monitoring developments since the news of the attack was received. Our first and foremost concern is for the welfare of the community.”

Mr Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, also tweeted and said: “We are deeply concerned at the reports emanating from Kabul about an attack on a sacred Gurdwara in that city. We are closely monitoring the situation and waiting for further details on the unfolding developments.”

The SGPC President Harjinder Singh Dham also condemned the attack and urged the Indian Government to take up the issue with the Taliban Government of Afghanistan to ensure safety and security of minorities there till they are evacuated safely to India.

Manjinder Singh Sirsa of the BJP said he has spoken to Gurnam Singh who informed him that the incident occurred at 6 am local time when a granthi was going inside the gurdwara for morning ‘Parkash’ of the Guru Granth Sahib. ‘Parkash’ is the first prayer in any gurdwara.

Puneet Singh Chandhok, President, Indian World Forum, said Gurnam Singh had informed that the terrorists had launched a major attack. He called for immediate repatriation of minorities from Afghanistan.

Taliban forces are gearing to take them on. Many have been killed, but numbers are not known as gurudwara is out of bounds for civilians, says eyewitness to attack. Reports also said “hostages were on the second floor of the gurdwara”.

Unconfirmed media reports said that the main hall of the gurdwara was set on fire before the Taliban forces entered the gurdwara and  engaged the attackers and killed them to secure release of the hostages.

After the 2020 attack on a Sikh Gurdwara,  less than 700 Sikhs and Hindus  were left behind in Afghanistan. Since then, many families have left  the country. Most of them have moved to India and other safer destinations. There are, however, many families still in Afghanistan  who cannot move out because of financial constraints. This morning’s attack on the Sikh Gurdwara has been the latest targeted attack on a place of worship of a minority community in Afghanistan.

In March 2020, at least 25 worshippers were killed and eight others injured when a heavily armed suicide bomber stormed a prominent gurdwara in the heart of Kabul, in one of the deadliest attacks on the minority Sikh community in the country.

Rajya Sabha MP Vikram Sahney said: “One Sikh man has died in the terror attack in Kabul. He has been identified as Shavinder Singh. Two others have been injured, while Sri Guru Granth Sahib Saroop has been saved and taken out.”

Mr Raghav Chadha, also a Rajya Sabha member, has urged the Indian Government to ensure safe evacuation of remaining Sikhs from Afghanistan. 

The Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann also condemned the attack.