Afghans condemn ISIS attacks on ethnic minorities

By Najibullah and AFP

Members of the Afghan Sikh community react upon arriving from Afghanistan in New Delhi, India, on June 30, following the June 18 attack by gunmen at a Sikh temple in Kabul that killed a Sikh man. [AFP]

Members of the Afghan Sikh community react upon arriving from Afghanistan in New Delhi, India, on June 30, following the June 18 attack by gunmen at a Sikh temple in Kabul that killed a Sikh man. [AFP]

KABUL -- Afghans are standing against terrorist attacks on the nation's ethnic minorities less than a month after a gunman opened fire at a Sikh temple in Kabul.

The "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) on June 18 claimed responsibility for an attack a day prior on a Sikh temple in Kabul, saying it was retaliation for insults against the Prophet Muhammad.

In a message posted on its Amaq propaganda site, ISIS said the attack targeted Hindus and Sikhs and the "apostates" who protected them in "an act of support for the Messenger of Allah".

Two were killed and at least seven others wounded in the raid.

"There is no future for us here. I have lost all hope," Ragbir Singh, who was wounded, told AFP in June after the slaughter.

"Everywhere we are under threat."

The Sikh community has long been a target for ISIS.

In March 2020, at least 25 people were killed when gunmen stormed a different temple in Kabul.

And in 2018 at least 19 people, most of them Sikhs, were killed by a suicide bombing in Jalalabad.

Both attacks were claimed by ISIS, which regularly targets members of Afghanistan's minority communities -- including Shia and Sufis.

'We can't be careless'

The number of Sikhs and Hindus living in Afghanistan had dwindled to about 200 by late last year, compared with about half a million in the 1970s.

Most of those who remained were traders involved in selling herbal medicines and electronic goods brought from India and Pakistan.

For Manmohan Singh Sethi, who was born in Afghanistan, the temple was not just a place of worship but home to the entire Sikh community.

"This used to be the main gurdwara (Sikh temple) where we all used to meet as a family," Sethi, who is in his 70s, told AFP in June.

The attack came days after a delegation from New Delhi visited Kabul to discuss the possibility of reopening the Indian embassy.

Indian government sources told AFP in New Delhi that emergency visas had been given to about 100 Afghan Hindus and Sikhs, but Sethi said none in the frightened community was aware of the offer.

The community was now unsure where even to pray for its future, he said.

"If we all gather to perform rituals at a specific place, we might face another such incident," he said.

"We have been attacked thrice already... We can't be careless."

"The latest incident has impacted us in a big way," said Sethi.

"Afghanistan is my homeland, and I never wanted to leave... but now I am leaving."

"In the past, despite all the cultural and security challenges that we faced ... we stayed in Afghanistan and tolerated everything because we loved our country," Charender Singh, a Sikh resident of Kabul who spoke under a pseudonym, told Salaam Times.

"But unfortunately, after the latest attack in Kabul, we felt that we can no longer live in Afghanistan because we have no safety and security. And no one heeded our security concerns and complaints in recent months," Singh said.

Counter to Islam

Attacks on minorities run counter to the principles of Islam and humanity and to the interests and history of Afghanistan, say Afghans.

Hindus and Sikhs are indigenous and original inhabitants of Afghanistan, and their absence will be a major blow to the history and culture of the country, said Khalil Raoufi, a civic activist in Kabul.

"Unfortunately, discrimination and harassment started against them in Kabul in the 1990s when the mujahideen took over," Raoufi said.

"This group of our compatriots was also unfortunately targeted by the ISIS terrorist group and has been forced over time to leave Afghanistan. Only about 70 to 100 families are left in the country," he said, while condemning the recent ISIS massacre.

"Our religious, political, cultural and professional elites, our generals and doctors are unfortunately being targeted [by ISIS]," Asadullah Nadim, an Afghan military analyst, said.

"The objective of these attacks is to harm ... Afghanistan and disrupt social order," he said.

"ISIS is a terrorist group -- it cares neither about public reaction nor about the implications of its actions since it is not a political group," Nadim said.

Do you like this article?

4 Comment

Comment Policy * Denotes required field 1500 / 1500

The real game has started now. The Afghan Sikhs and Hindus are lucky enough that at least India has given them visas and refuge. Now 40 million people are still taken hostage by terrorist groups and the Taliban government. ISIS is progressing with a very regular plan. It recruits fighters in different provinces of Afghanistan, especially in the northern province of the country. A few days ago ISIS fighters also attacked border areas of Uzbekistan and caused financial losses to the people of Uzbekistan. I think the flame of terrorism will soon engulf all the region and that the neighboring countries that hosted the Taliban and were happy for them will pay the price for their credulity. Terrorism is like a snake; it doesn’t differentiate between friends and strangers.


ISIS is the enemy of Afghanistan, Islam, and humanity, but the question is that, why the United States during its two decades of presence in Afghanistan failed to prevent the progress of these terrorist groups? Why the Unites States left Afghanistan while there attacks of ISIS were going on in Afghanistan? Why it permitted a terrorist group to take over Afghanistan’s government? America and its western allies are responsible for all these misfortunes and the people of Afghanistan would never forgive the United States for its hypocrisy and disloyalty.


It’s true that the United States didn’t hit the terrorists and their supporters including Pakistan. The main problem was within our own people. Although that half of the government was in fact in the hands of the children of the Northern Alliance, they were opposing the government system. Do you remember the day when Atta Mohammad Noor, the famous warlord, and human rights' violator from the Northern Alliance, warned that if the international coalition doesn’t interfere, he could seize the Presidential Palace within 24 hours? Along with it, the media of the Northern Alliance, which was executing the missions of Russia and Iran, was regularly propagating against the government. They were misusing the freedom of the media and were crushing the [Afghan] civic systems. They were always attacking the Pashtun politicians. They have never criticized Tajik, Uzbek, and Hazara politicians. Actually, they were implementing the previous mission set by Russia and Iran, and as well as France to suppress the majority ethnic group of Afghanistan (The Pashtuns).


I hate such dirty-minded people who have brought Islam into this narrow circle. If you are this much Islamist, why don't you attack non-Muslims in India, Pakistan, Iran, and other parts of the world as you bring Islam to the ass of Afghans, and you are constantly misusing it against the Afghans? Islam is a very sacred religion. Islam is a broad-based religion. It is a religion of patience and perseverance. Islam does not allow anyone to kill others with such words. Islam does not allow killing one person for the sin of another one, but the fact is that all these are problems that made for Afghans and Afghanistan. Intelligence groups are trying to kill Afghans in the name of Islam, to create differences among them, divide them into groups, and the atmosphere of brotherhood turns to enmity. Otherwise, ISIS that takes revenge should go to India, where there are Hindus. In Pakistan, Hindus move freely. Afghan Hindus and Sikhs are patriotic people. They are more patriotic and sympathetic to the country than the Sunnis are. The Afghan Hindus and Sikhs are taxpayers, and they are protected. Killing a Sunni is considered a sin. Killing the Afghan Hindus and Sikhs has the same order.