Crescent Kashmir

Deeply concerned, says Jaishankar on Kabul blast near cremation site of Sikhs

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An explosive device went off a short distance from the site where the cremation of the Sikhs killed in yesterday’s terror attack was underway in Kabul on Thursday, according to media reports. There were no casualties.

The device exploded in a house in Qalacha area, not far from the spot where members of the Sikh minority were cremating those killed in the attack on a Sikh place of worship at Shor Bazar on Wednesday. A second explosive device was defused by Afghan security forces in the same area, the media reports said.

People familiar with developments confirmed on Thursday that an Indian national named Tian Singh, a resident of New Delhi, was among the 25 people killed in the attack. Singh’s wife, in a letter sent to the prime minister, requested the repatriation of his body.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar tweeted: “Deeply concerned at the blasts reported near the cremation site of those killed during the attack on Gurudwara Sahib in Kabul.” He added the Indian embassy was in touch with Afghan authorities to “ensure adequate security onsite as well as safe return of families to their homes”.

Jaishankar also said the Indian embassy was working to repatriate the body of Tian Singh. Though Singh’s wife, in her letter, had also called for those wounded in Wednesday’s attack to be shifted to New Delhi, Jaishankar said medical opinion was “against moving [the] injured at this stage”.

The external affairs minister said there was “understandable grief and anger” over the terror attack and the Indian embassy was in touch with the families of those killed and injured.

Indian ambassador Vinay Kumar visited the Sikh place of worship and met community leaders and families of the victims on Thursday. He was told the injured were receiving satisfactory treatment.

The Islamic State claimed the attack, though Afghan officials said the Pakistan-based Haqqani Network was behind it. In a statement issued late on Wednesday, the Islamic State claimed the attack was “revenge” for developments in Kashmir and that it was carried out by an attacker using the “kunya” or assumed name of “Abu Khalid al Hindi”, suggesting that he was of Indian origin.

The Islamic State provided no other information about the attacker or his origin. Afghan officials have said four suicide attackers were involved in the incident.


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