Terrorist attack against Sikh temple in Afghanistan

Human rights organization calls for better protection of religious minorities (Press Release)

Following a terrorist attack against the Sikh minority in Afghanistan, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) calls for better protection of religious minorities in the country. "The so-called Islamic State has declared war on the religious minorities of Afghanistan. The Shiites, Hindu, and Sikhs have been declared fair in order to stir up religious conflicts," stated Ulrich Delius, the STP's director, in Göttingen on Wednesday. A terror squad of Islamic State (IS) had attacked a Sikh temple in the capital Kabul on Wednesday morning, killing at least 25 believers.

The human rights organization criticized that the Afghan state is failing to protect the religious minorities. The Shiite Hazara minority in particular has been suffering from attacks by radical Sunnis – attempts to fuel the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites. The Sikhs and Hindus cannot feel safe in Afghanistan either. In the 1980s of the last century, there were around 250,000 Sikhs living in Afghanistan, but tens of thousands have since fled the country due to the ongoing civil war. Today, there are only about 1000 Sikhs left, most of them living in one of three settlement areas in Afghanistan. They complain about widespread discrimination, marginalization, and assaults. They also suffer from religious discrimination, such as restrictions on their traditional burial rites.