Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani today mourned the deaths of 19 Afghans, including 17 Sikhs, in a targeted suicide attack by an Islamic State bomber in the eastern city of Jalalabad that also killed the only candidate of the Afghan parliament election from the minority community.
“We mourn their deaths as a nation and remind their loved ones that we are there for them. I offer our heartfelt condolences to their families and friends as we grieve together,” President Ghani tweeted.
The victims when on their way to meet the president when a suicide bomber targeted their convoy in Jalalabad yesterday, killing 19 people, including 17 Sikhs.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the strike targeting a group of “polytheists” was carried out by its Khorasan unit.
Avtar Singh Khalsa, a longtime leader of the Sikh community who had planned to run in the parliamentary elections set for October, was killed in the attack. Prominent Afghan social activist Rawail Singh was also among the victims.
“Our hearts are broken for the families of our fellow Afghans who were lost in the Jalalabad attack. I am saddened at the loss of our proud and resilient Sikh Afghans. I had the honour of interacting with some of them many times in the past,” Ghani said.
“I ask my fellow Afghans to extend a hand to those in need, and I will do everything to help to get through these hard times,” he added.
The Sikh community members have asked the government to investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.