On March 25, terrorists, reportedly affiliated to the Islamic State, stormed one the oldest gurdwara in Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul, killing 25 people. This was one of the worst attacks faced by the small Afghan minority community in the recent times. The Sikhs, once an integral part of Afghanistan, started suffering under the Mujahideen regime in the 80s, followed by the Taliban rule. Thousands of Sikhs fled their homes to Pakistan and India. The better off went to Canada and the UK. The once vibrant populations in Nangarhar, Logan, Herat, Jalalabad, Kabul and Kandahar were soon reduced to a handful. “Once, Baisakhi was celebrated with a huge mela at Jalalabad, people would come from all over and the entire area would be covered with tents. Hundreds of marriages would be solmenised there,” reminisces Pal Singh, who fled Kabul in 1993 without even a roti to eat. A trader in New Delhi now, he has no plans of ever returning home. “That life is gone. It will never return."
An Indian man was reportedly part of the four-member team that attacked the gurdwara in Kabul, according to reports citing intelligence inputs. The IS has claimed responsibility for the attack and published a photograph of a man pointing his finger upward and holding an assault rifle, identifying him as Abu Khalid al-Hindi, one of the terrorists involved in the attack that killed 25 people.
Mohammed Muhsin (28), a resident of Kasargod in Kerala state, went to the UAE in 2018 from where he is believed to have joined the ranks with the global terror organisation in Afghanistan, PTI reported. His identity was established after an Islamic state publication posted his picture identifying him with his 'kunya' (Arabic name), Abu Khalid al-Hindi. He, along with his family, had returned to Kerala from Malaysia in 2017 and later left for Saudi Arabia in search of work. The same year, he returned to Kerala and stayed with his family before leaving for the UAE in 2018, PTI quoted officials.
The Islamic State terror group, which has earlier also targeted Sikhs in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attack. The central agencies, with the help of local police reached out to the family of the accused, who identified him to be Muhsin from the published picture which had ISIS flag in the background. His parents had claimed that they received a message from the ISIS confirming his death during the attack, the officials said. Muhsin, a school dropout, is believed to have landed in Afghanistan as a member of ISIS in the Khorasan Province.
-Inputs from PTI, Rekha Dixit