New Jersey, USA: The American Sikh Council (ASC) is disgusted and saddened by the terrorist attack by ISIS on the Gurdwara Karte Parwan in Shor Bagh-e-Bala, Kabul, Afghanistan, over the weekend. According to reports the gunmen stormed the gurdwara premises on Saturday morning. One Sikh and a guard were killed while at least seven Sikhs are injured with varying injuries.
Reports by ISIS stated, Abu Mohammed al-Tajiki, a member of their group, stormed the gurdwara after killing the guard and then targeted the Sikh worshippers inside with machine-gun fire and hand grenades. The ISIS terrorists outside the gurdwara detonated four explosive devices and a car bomb targeting patrols of Taliban militia who tried to protect the gurdwara. The heinous attack ended after three hours.
The claim made by ISIS in a statement posted on its Amaq website late Saturday stated that the attack was in retaliation to insults made by an Indian-Hindu female politician against prophet Mohammad.
In March 2020, a lone ISIS gunman rampaged through Gurdwara Guru Har Rai located in Shor Bazaar, Kabul, Afghanistan killing 25 worshippers, including a child, and wounding eight others. As many as 80 worshippers were trapped inside the gurdwara as the gunman lobbed grenades and fired an automatic rifle into the crowd.
In June 2018, the ISIS had killed 19 Sikhs in a suicide bomb attack. The extremist element in Afghanistan continues to target the Sikhs, making sure that there is no one left finally. This ethno-religious cleansing of a hardworking industrious community, which has lived there for more than a few centuries is now less than 200.
A Sikh-Afghan inside the burned out Gurdwara Karte Parwan after the ISIS attack, Kabul
Current reports from some community liaisons state that there are about 160 Sikh-Afghans left facing a very difficult predicament in Afghanistan. Before the 1970s the Sikh-Afghan population numbered over 200,000, however, due to incessant persecution and discrimination, most have been forced to flee to other countries starting in the early 90s. The approximately 160 remaining Sikhs in Afghanistan are very vulnerable and do not have the resources or ability to relocate to other countries, unless Sikhs in the diaspora step up to help them.
The American Sikh Council (ASC) and all other Sikh orgs. in the US request the State department to assist the Afghan authorities to offer meaningful protection to the Sikh-Afghans, meanwhile the US State department should seriously consider giving them asylum urgently, because based on the past history it is highly likely the rest of them could be killed soon, as Sikhs have no basic human or religious rights in Afghanistan.
ASC President Dr. Jasbir Kaur stated, “Our country which prides itself to be a beacon of hope for religious freedom and liberty must help these unprotected (Sikhs) in Afghanistan who need to be given refuge immediately before they are targeted again!”
The American Sikh Council calls on the US government to expedite the processing of their refugee applications and allow the Sikhs remaining in Afghanistan to be directly sponsored by Americans.
The American Sikh Council is the umbrella organization representative of Sikhs in the United States. It is an elected body of Sikh Gurdwaras and institutions. Currently 74 Gurdwaras and other Sikh institutions across the nation are members of ASC. The major governing purpose of the organization is to represent the collective view of Sikhs in the United States. ASC works to promote Sikh interests at the national and international level focusing on issues of advocacy, education, and well-being of humankind.