'We have No Future,' Afghan Sikhs Say following a Temple Attack
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KABUL, Afghanistan – A hundred Afghan Sikhs met Monday inside a chamber beneath the burnt wreckage of their church in Kabul, expecting to be quickly evacuated after finally abandoning their homeland.

“We don’t have a future here. I’ve given up all hope, “Ragbir Singh was injured when gunmen attacked the temple on Saturday, claiming responsibility for the attack.

“Everywhere we go, we’re in danger.”'We have No Future,' Afghan Sikhs Say following a Temple Attack

Numerous Sikhs sought safety at the compound when the Taliban assumed power in August, living collectively or in family units distributed across the facility.

The Sikh population had previously been targeted.

In March 2020, attackers assaulted a separate shrine in Kabul, killing at least 25 worshippers.

In 2018, a suicide attack inside the eastern city of Jalalabad murdered at least 19 persons, the majority of them Sikhs.

Daesh claimed responsibility for both assaults, which often target residents of Afghanistan’s minority populations, such as Shiites and Sufis.

By late last year, the quantity of Sikhs and Hindus remaining in Afghanistan had dropped to roughly 200, down from around half a million there in the 1970s.

The majority of those who survived were traders selling Indian and Pakistani herbal medications and electrical products.

The church was not only a house of worship for Manmohan Singh Sethi, who was born in Afghanistan but also a home for the whole Sikh community.

 

Getting together as a family

Sethi, who is still in his 70s, said, “It used to be the major gurdwara (Sikh temple) where we can all used to assemble as a family.”

The calm was disrupted Saturday, when one group member was slain and seven others were injured in an initial raid, including Singh.

In a counter-offensive conducted shortly after, a Taliban fighter was also killed.

Survivors reported gunmen opened fire at the complex’s front gate, murdering a guard, before rushing inside, shooting and tossing explosives.

A vehicle blast occurred outside the compound minutes later, smashing surrounding buildings’ walls and windows.

Many ran through a back entrance and sought safety in surrounding buildings when the attack began.
Singh, who had been on the fourth level of the complex at the time, tumbled to the ground, hurting his legs and a hand in the subsequent commotion.

Firearms, grenades, as well as a fire that overtook a portion of the compound during the attack, have severely destroyed numerous rooms including the main prayer hall.

The incident occurred only days after a New Delhi mission traveled to Kabul to examine the prospect of restoring the Indian embassy.

Emergency visas had been provided to roughly 100 Afghan Hindus and Sikhs, according to Indian government sources in Delhi, but Sethi said none of the scared minority was aware of the offer.

He stated that the community was at a loss as to where to pray for their future.

  • “We could face another similar tragedy if we all meet to do rituals at a certain location,” he warned.
  • “We’ve already been assaulted three times… We can’t afford to be reckless.”
  • “The most recent event has had a significant impact on us,” Sethi added.
  • “Afghanistan is my homeland, and I’ve always wanted to go… but I’m leaving now.”

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