Afghan Sikhs, Hindus grieve after suicide attack kills 19
Jalalabad: Grief mixed with anger among Afghanistan’s minority Sikh and Hindu community on Monday as they prepared for funerals of loved ones, including an election candidate, killed in a suicide attack.
At least 19 people were killed and 21 wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus waiting to meet President Ashraf Ghani in the eastern city of Jalalabad yesterday.
Scores of mourners shouted “death to Ashraf Ghani” and “death to the government” as they placed coffins in ambulances that would take them to a temple for funeral ceremonies.
Among the dead were 17 Sikhs and Hindus, officials said, including Avtar Singh, the only Sikh candidate running in the October 20 legislative elections, and Rawail Singh, a prominent social activist.
“This attack has killed many of our elders, those who loved their country more than anything else,” Narendar Singh told AFP as he took the body of his father, Avtar Singh, from the hospital.
“We were the direct target. The government really does not care about us. We used to be a huge community but most of us have left.” Around 1,000 Sikhs and Hindus are estimated to reside in what is otherwise an overwhelmingly Muslim nation.
The vast majority live in Jalalabad as well as the southeastern city of Ghazni and the Afghan capital Kabul.