Gurdwara Har Rai Sahib, Shor Bazaar, Kabul, Afghanistan
Mar 25, 2020
Abu Khalid al-Hindi
On 25 March 2020, suicide bombers and assailants armed with guns attacked the Gurdwara Har Rai Sahib (a Sikh shrine) in Kabul, Afghanistan.
About 200 worshipers were reported to have been in the building, in which 25 Sikh worshippers were killed and leaving at least 8 wounded after an hour-long siege which ended in all assailants being killed by responding security forces. At least one child was said to have been among people who were killed, according to the ministry of interior’s statement.
The Islamic extremist and militant organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has claimed responsibility. The gunman was identified as Abu Khalid al-Hindi, an Indian citizen from Kerala.
The attacks started in the gurdwara's sanctuary area where 200 worshipers were praying at about 7:45 am interrupting worship that started an hour earlier. The attackers threw grenades and broke into the shrine then started opening fire on people. Afterwards, the attackers took hostages inside of the building, exchanging fire with security forces till all three attackers were killed and at least 80 hostages freed after a shootout that lasted for 6 hours.After the attack, Afghan and NATO soldiers helped with the clearance operation.
On Thursday, as families of the deceased and members of the community were conveying the bodies to the burial grounds in the Qalacha area in the afternoon, another blast was reported to have gone off remotely, near the crowd.There were no casualties from the blast.
This was not the first such attack on Sikhs; a similar Islamic State attack on Sikhs killed many in Jalalabad in 2018. Gurdwaras have also been damaged previously, such as during the Battle of Jalalabad (1989) and the Afghan Civil War of the 1990s.