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IS issued a 10-day deadline for the community to leave the nation. They received the ultimatum to leave the country, otherwise, face death. 

Four-year-old Tanya Kaur told her father, Harinder Singh, that she wanted to wear some new clothes to the gurudwara that day. Just a few hours later, Singh watched her, along with his wife and father, succumb to gunshot wounds. He recalled that she kept on shouting, “ Save me, Daddy! Save me, Daddy!

Drowned in deep sorrow, Singh further shared, “They kept shooting, even at the heap of bodies lying on the ground.

Heart-wrenching attacks on Afghan Sikhs 

On March 25, Islamic State militants assaulted a gurdwara in Kabul when about 150 Sikhs were praying there together. Singh’s relatives were among 25 people killed. A video posted on YouTube by an account called TheAfghanDutchSikh shows his incredibly moving depiction of recalling the death of his loved ones.

He says that the incident changed him. Earlier, he suggested his fellow Sikhs to stay put as many fled Afghanistan following repeated attacks and ongoing threats against the minority group. However, now he tells everyone, including Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs to flee Afghanistan. He said that humanity ceased to exist in the country. 

As per the reports, many in the Sikh Afghan community do not feel safe in the country. Islamist militant groups like Islamic State have put a target on their backs.

Another attack attempt on Sikhs

The Sikh Afghans were subjected to two other failed attacks after the attack on the gurdwara. While speaking to VOA, a Sikh man from Kabul said that he lost five family members on 25th March 2020. He was preparing for their cremation when he heard another bomb blast. The police came and said that they were safe, and it was just an improvised explosive device. 

The day after, he was on his way to another gurdwara with his brother when he saw two people running and yelling that there was a bomb. He said he thought they were lying but soon police came and rushed them inside the building. They had found another IED, but this one failed to explode. These incidents left the community in deep fear. 

Receiving life threats from IS 

Soon after, IS issued a 10-day deadline for the community to leave the nation. They received the ultimatum to leave the country, otherwise, face death. The community is living in perpetual fear. They did not feel safe going out and if they did, they never stayed out for long and returned home as soon as possible. 

This was not the first incident against the Sikh minorities. In 2018, IS extremists assassinated 17 Afghan Sikh and Hindu community leaders in the eastern city of Jalalabad. The community leaders were on their way to meet President Ashraf Ghani at the time.

Following the series of attacks and threats, a group of Sikh activists in the United States has taken up the cause of Afghanistan's persecuted Hindus and Sikhs. In a letter to the US government and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, they urged the two organisations to urgently evacuate Sikhs and Hindus living in Afghanistan and grant them immediate refugee status or risk a genocide. It was signed by 19 groups, including some Jewish, Christian and Muslim groups, requesting immediate intervention on behalf of the Afghan Hindus and Sikhs who were facing a difficult choice between exodus or extinction.

Rajdeep Jolly, one of the American lawyers who wrote the letter claimed that the request was in line with current U.S. law. He said, “We’re not asking for something that is impossible for the U.S. to do. They have the legal authority under existing refugee law to fast track Afghan Sikhs and Hindus for refugee protection. They just need the political will.” 

Jolly continued by saying that Sikh activists were also lobbying governments in some European and Canadian nations for similar policies. He added, “It’s a moral imperative for the U.S. and the international community to evacuate them to safety before additional lives are lost.” 

Sikh activists fear that the small indigenous communities in Afghanistan will be even more vulnerable as a result of the upcoming evacuation of U.S. and NATO soldiers, which was guaranteed in an agreement between the U.S. and Taliban earlier in 2020. They continue to live in fear, waiting for international governments to be their saviour. 

 

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