A suicide bombing allegedly targeting minority communities has left 20 people dead, including many Sikhs in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
Follow this news which broke earlier today, the Sikh Press Association reached out to Afghani Sikhs for further news and reaction to this story.
Whilst Indian media are reporting 10 Sikhs have been killed during the attack, UK Afghan Sikh community figure and filmmaker Pritpal Singh has received news suggesting 14 Sikhs were killed in the attack, as opposed to Indian media stating 10 have been killed. Pritpal Singh also confirmed that senior Afghan Sikh community figures Parliamentary Election Candidate Awtar Singh Khalsa, the only Sikh in the Afghan Presidential elections, and Rawail Singh, deputy head of The Council of Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan were killed in the attack.
On social media, Pritpal Singh stated the deaths were ‘A great loss to our already diminished community.’
Pritpal Singh created documentary Mission Afghanistan on the lives of Sikhs and Hindu minorities in the country, which included Rawail Singh.
The attack seemed to target a group of Sikhs who were on their way to meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani who was on a tour of the province when the explosion happened.
Only last year the Sikh Press Association spoke to Pritpal Singh about the issues Sikhs face in Afghanistan, to explain why so many were desperate to come to countries like the UK, which has often seen them become demonised for doing whatever they can to enter.
A Twitter thread by Afghan Sikh London based writer Sanmeet Kaur stated ‘Family whatsapp groups being flooded with photos and frantic voice notes – an already vulnerable community shaken to the core by this news’.
Sikh community figure Deepa Singh of Sikh Youth UK visited a Gurdwara in Southall, where there is a big Afghan Sikh community. In a video posted online, Deepa Singh said, ‘Family members here have suffered, they are very distraught, a lot of people have come together and it is important we stand with our brothers and sisters that have been targeted. This is an attack on innocent Sikhs again.’
Jaskaran Singh of the Canada based World Sikh Organisation said via Twitter, ‘The plight of Sikhs in Afghanistan is dire, and the fears of the Afghan Sikh community are very real. We are currently in contact and working with government officials here.’
Although the bombing is being linked with the Afghanistan Taliban, no group has yet come forward to take responsibility for the callous attack.
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