Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, July 20th, 2019

Attacks on Sikhs, Attacks on Diversity in Afghanistan

A suicide attack that targeted a convoy of Sikhs and Hindus minority traveling to meet the president Ghani in Jalalabad city left 19 people dead and 20 wounded on Sunday. The fatal events marks one of the deadliest attacks on the Sikh community in Afghanistan during decades of war and violence. Avtar Singh Khalsa, a leader in the Sikh community who planned to run for parliamentary elections in October, wasalso among the victims.
As reflected in the media, Avtar Singh Khalsa and his companions were going to meet President Ghani in the morning at the provincial governor’s compound but the meeting was postponed until the afternoon. when their convoy neared the compound, they were stopped by security forces and ordered to get out of their cars to be checked. “That is when a suicide bomber on foot detonated among us,” quoted from an eyewitness.
Khalisa was a patriot Afghan citizen of Sikh faith whose ancestors have been owner land in Afghanistan for thousands of years.“This country is my motherland. We are 14 people in my family and I will sacrifice them all for Afghanistan. The day I get a bullet in my chest for the sake of Afghanistan will be the proudest day of my life,” Singh said to BBC a week before his death. Today, all Afghans and non-Afghans are extremely sad about the horribleincident; In fact, attacks on Sikh minority is attack on diversity in Afghanistan.
Therefore, many countries and international organization including UN, US, UK, India, Pakistan, Turkey and other countries have strongly condemned suicide bombing in Jalalabad City, through to separate statements or tweets... The Indian embassy in Kabul condemned the attack, adding that it “again underlines the need for a united global fight against international terrorism without discrimination and accountability of those who support terrorists in any manner.” India has offered to take the dead bodies, but at least nine were cremated according to Sikh rites in Jalalabad.A stain on forehead of Taliban,” ex-NDS chief,  Amrullah Saleh twitted. We must stand together to fight terrorism and its sponsor in a bid to be freed from menace of terrorism.
“The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemns the brutal attacks and expresses its concerns about a recent spate of incidents in which civilians have been killed in attacks on schools and medical centres,” said the UN.UNAMA, meanwhile, called for the responsible parties to be arrested and punished.  “The architects of this appalling crime must be brought to justice,” said Ingrid Hayden, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan.
In the meantime, families of the victims of the Jalalabad suicide attack said that President Ashraf Ghani and local officials from Nangarhar must be held accountable for the attack.While carrying the coffins of their loved these families on Monday chanted slogans against Ghani and Nangarhar  police. They questioned how the suicide bomber had been able to enter the heavily-fortified area where the attack took place.“We want the government to defend us,” said one Sikh resident in Jalalabad, Gujit Singh.“Honorable governor! We are very angry about this, even we are not counted as a tribe, we have been left without an identity,” said another Sikh member.“My brother was martyred, my father-in-law martyred, my loved ones martyred, my uncle martyred. Four of our families were totally destroyed,” said Anderpal Singh.
In the past three decades, close to 99 percent of Hindu and Sikh citizens of Afghanistan have left the country. According to a survey reports released by Tolo news, the Sikh and Hindu population number was 220,000 in the 1980’s. That number dropped sharply to 15,000 during the 1990’s and remained at that level during the Taliban regime. It is now estimated that only 1,350 Hindus and Sikhs remain in the country. Hindus and Sikhs were granted representation in the country’s parliament in 2016.”I am clear that we cannot live here anymore,” said Tejvir Singh, secretary of a national panel of Hindus and Sikhs.”Our religious practices will not be tolerated by the Islamic terrorists. We are Afghans; the government recognized us, but terrorists target us because we are not Muslims,” Tejvir Singh continued.
The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks, justifying the people in the convoy were targeted for being “polytheists,”.The attack on the convoy occurred less than 24 hours after suspected Islamic State militants targeted a boys’ school in Khogyani district and beheaded three workers. Islamic State continues to have a presence in Nangarhar province, despite efforts by Afghan and U.S. forces to remove them from the area. Last month, a joint U.S.-Afghan operation routed Islamic State forces in parts of Nangarhar province.
The attacks which usually carried out by Islamic State are more dreadful and very meaningful in comparison to Taliban; thy have always tried to target the main values of the Afghan nation such as unity, diversity and democracy. In recent years, a large number of Hazara were targeted aiming to inflame sectarian conflicts in the country. In December 2017, 41 killed and dozens were wounded. In July 2016, at least 80 Shia Muslims were killed in two bomb blasts carried out by Daesh in Kabul. In November of the same year, at least 27 people were killed after a large bomb explosion hit a Shia mosque in Kabul and many more were killed in voter registration center west of Kabul. The purpose of the Islamic State is to scare the people of Afghanistan into staying away from polls, further weakening the government and striking at the legitimacy of democracy and, diversity.