Kabul Gurdwara attack to avenge India’s amended citizenship law?
New Delhi, Mar 26: The Indian Intelligence agencies suspect the role of the ISI in the Kabul Gurudwara attack that killed 25.
An Intelligence Bureau official told OneIndia that the ISI backed the attack which was carried out by the Islamic State of Khorasan. While the initial suspicion was on the Taliban, the same was denied by its spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid.
The Indian agencies say that while the role of the ISIS is clear, it is also confirmed that the ISI backed the outfit in carrying out the strike. When asked if this was done to target the Sikh community in the wake of the newly amended citizenship law, the officer cited above said that it cannot be ruled out.
The Sikhs are a persecuted religious minority in Afghanistan. The citizenship law offers citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Buddhists and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Terrorists had stormed a religious gathering of Sikhs, who are a minority in Afghanistan and killed 25 people. Those killed included a child. 15 persons were injured in the attack.
Moments after the attack, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the same. The Islamic State has a considerable presence in Afghanistan. It may be recalled that it has also recruited several Indians for the ISIS Khorasan.
The security forces have cordoned off the area, located in old Kabul, and are trying to counter the attack. They are locked in a continuing battle with the gunmen.
Police in Kabul said that at least 11 children were rescued from the gurdwara.
Sikh lawmaker Nardendar Singh Khalisa told reporters close to the scene that up to 150 people were praying inside the gurdwara when it came under attack.
"Afghan forces have cleared the first floor of a Sikh worship area in PD1 of Kabul, where suicide bombers are battling security forces," Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian was quoted as saying in the report.
"A number of people have been rescued who were trapped inside the building," he said.
Earlier, the country''s main militant group, the Taliban, denied involvement in the attack.
Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement that the militant group had no link with the attack in Shor Bazar area of Kabul, Khama News agency reported.
War-torn Afghanistan is currently mired in a political stalemate with two politicians- Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah - both claiming victory in the presidential election.
The US, keen to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, has been trying to break the deadlock and also save a historic deal it signed with the Taliban militant group that is supposed to pave the way for peace in the country.
The attack comes a day after the US said it would cut its aid to the government by USD 1 billion over frustrations that the political leaders could not reach an agreement and form a team to negotiate with the Taliban.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Kabul on Tuesday in a bid to resolve a standoff between President Ghani and his rival Abdullah, who also proclaims himself president following a contested election.
Sikhs have been target of attacks by Islamist militants before in Afghanistan.
Two years ago, the Islamic State group targeted a Sikh gathering in Afghanistan, killing 19 people.