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Afghan Suicide Bomber Targets Sikh-Afghans,
Killing 20

AHMAD SULTAN, Reuters

 

 

 




Jalalabad, Afghanistan

An explosion hit the center of the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Sunday, July 1, 2018, killing at least 20 citizens, most from the small Sikh-Afghan minority, provincial government officials said.

The blast, hours after President Ashraf Ghani had opened a hospital in Jalalabad, damaged shops and buildings around Mukhaberat square in the city, governor’s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said.

A respected politician representing the minority Sikh community was killed in the blast. Officials said Sardar Awtar Singh Khalsa, who had planned to stand in October’s parliamentary elections, was dead.

Ghulam Sanayi Stanekzai, police chief of Nangarhar, said the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber who targeted a vehicle carrying members of the Sikh minority who were traveling to meet the President.

Islamic State claimed the attack in a statement via its online Amaq news agency, but provided no evidence for the claim.

Officials said at least 10 of the dead were Sikhs.

Afghanistan is an overwhelmingly Muslim nation but a small number of Sikhs remain in the country.

One seat in the Afghan parliament is reserved for a member of the country’s small Sikh community.

But increasing numbers of Sikhs have moved to various parts of the world, including Punjab, their spiritual homeland, due to persecution and repeated threats.

Inaamullah Miakhel, a spokesman for the provincial health department of Nangarhar, said 20 people were also wounded.

Officials said the casualty total might have been even higher had much of the city not been blocked off for Ghani’s visit. He was not in the area when the blast occurred.

The attack underlined the fragile security situation in Afghanistan after last month’s brief ceasefire between government forces and the Taliban.

The three-day truce did not include Islamic State, which fights both government forces and the Taliban and which has shown no sign of letting up its campaign of violence.


[Courtesy: Reuters. Additional reporting by Qadir Sediqi and Rupam Jain in KABUL, Ali Abdelaty in CAIRO, editing by Jane Merriman, Louise Heavens, William Maclean. Edited for sikhchic.com.]


July 4, 2018
 

Conversation about this article

1: Dalbir Singh Rattan (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), July 04, 2018, 11:07 AM.

Sad day for Sikhs across the world. I am surprised that none of the Sikh-Canadian politicians spoke up or condemned the attack. I hope they will take some initiative in getting them refugee status.

2: Raj Singh (Canada), July 04, 2018, 2:17 PM.

An Alberta MLA named Manmeet Singh Bhullar was trying to bring Sikh-Afghans to Canada as refugees before he passed away in a tragic accident a couple of years ago. No one else has come forward to help these helpless people. Perhaps it's not a vote winning act. I hope some other politician starts it again from where Manmeet left off. We can only hope.

3: GC Singh (USA), July 05, 2018, 1:29 PM.

In March 2000, when Bill Clinton was visiting India, 36 Sikhs were massacred in Chattisinghpura, in Kashmir. India's national security adviser, Brajesh Mishra, within hours claimed that there was absolute proof that two of the bigger militant groups in Kashmir -- Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen -- under directions of ISI had carried out the killings. However, subsequent events and cover up attempts by India and the killing of five innocent Kashmiris in Panchtalan, exposed the perpetrators to be the Indian army itself. Completely exposed the lies of the Indian Government. It was clear that India was trying to make the "Kashmiri Muslim freedom fighters" to be painted as terrorists, while American policy makers were present to watch, and therefore engineered the killings of innocent Sikhs. In an introduction to a book written by Madeleine Albright titled "The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs" (2006), she accused "Hindu Militants" of perpetrating the act. We don't know who did this latest heinous crime, but we have to ask who profits from this massacre of Sikhs in Afghanistan which has eerie similarities to Chattisinghpura because it was executed on the day when United States Assistant Secretary of State was visiting Kabul for peace talks between Afghanistan, the Taliban and Pakistan. Just like Chattisingpura, within minutes India claimed that the Pakistan spy agency, ISI, was responsible, with its media outlets in full propaganda mode. We all know that various agencies including CIA, ISI and India's notorious RAW are involved in Afghanistan. United Nations and international agencies must conduct a thorough probe and identify the real culprits and powers behind this dastardly act.

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Killing 20"









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