Taliban urges Afghanistan’s Hindu and Sikh minorities to come back
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The Taliban has claimed Afghanistan’s security situation has improved and urged the country’s Sikh and Hindu minorities to return.
On 24 July, the director general of the office of the Minister of State of Taliban, Dr Mullah Abdul Wasi met with a delegation of Sikh and Hindu leaders in Kabul and “requested” them to come back to the country.
His assurance comes after more than a month when on 18 June, the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) attacked Gurudwara Dashmesh Pita Guru Gobind Singh Karte Parwan in Kabul. Two people, including an Afghanistan security official, lost their lives in the attack.
The Taliban claimed it was renovating the gurudwara that was destroyed during the attack.
Religious minorities, especially Sikhs, have been a target in Afghanistan.
Last year in October, 15 to 20 gunmen entered a gurudwara in Kabul’s Kart-e-Parwan district and tied up the guards.
In March 2020, at least 25 Sikhs were killed and several others injured in a terror attack at Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Gurudwara in Kabul’s Shor Bazaar. Isis took responsibility for the attack.
When the Taliban came back to power in 2021, they publicly pledged to protect minorities. But reports of minorities being killed by the Taliban left them distrustful of the Taliban leadership.
In recent years, a mass exodus of Afghanistan’s Sikhs and Hindus was facilitated by the Indian government, several international several Sikh nonprofits and the Sikh diaspora.
After the March 2020 attack on the Sikh gurudwara, around 500 people were relocated to India under a private sponsorship program called “My Family, My Responsibility”.
Many more were also evacuated to India when the US left Afghanistan and the Taliban took over last year in August.