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Modi Denounces Deadly Suicide Attack in Jalalabad

Monday 2 July 2018

KABUL (Pajhwok Afghan News) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday condemned the suicide bombing in the eastern city of Jalalabad as an attack on Afghanistan’s multicultural fabric, killing Sikhs. The Islamic State (IS) terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

In Sunday’s explosion, 19 people were killed as a suicide bomber targeted a convoy of Sikhs on its way to a meeting with President Ashraf Ghani. Most of those victims were Hindus and Sikhs, including the only Sikh candidate for the upcoming parliamentary elections, pencilled in for October 20.

Small communities of Sikhs and Hindus live in Afghanistan which is otherwise an overwhelmingly Muslim nation. Correspondents say increasing numbers have moved to India due to persecution and repeated threats.

IS said on its Amaq news agency that it had carried out the attack. The latest attack comes after last month’s three-day ceasefire between government forces and the Taliban.

The brief truce did not include IS which is fighting both the Taliban and government forces.

Modi tweeted India stood ready to assist Afghanistan in this hour of grief.

We strongly condemn the terror attacks in Afghanistan yesterday. They are an attack on Afghanistan’s multicultural fabric.

My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I pray that the injured recover soon. India stands ready to assist the Afghanistan government in this sad hour.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also expressed her heartfelt condolences to families of the victims. She will be meeting the victims’ relatives later in the day:

My heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of the terror attack in Jalalabad city of Afghanistan. We are with them in this hour of tragedy. I am meeting their relatives today at 6pm.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also condemned the attack and extended help to the victims and their families. He urged the global fraternity to come together to fight against terror.

Sikhism in Afghanistan is limited to small populations, primarily in major cities, with the largest numbers of Afghan Sikhs living in Jalalabad, Ghazni, Kabul, and to a lesser extent Kandahar. These Sikhs are Afghan nationals who normally speak native Pashto, but also speak Dari, Hindi or Punjabi. Their total population is around 1200 families or 8000 members.

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