Child injured in blast near Sikh crematorium in Afghan capital

Kabul, Mar 26 (PTI) A bomb blast took place near a Sikh crematorium in the Afghan capital on Thursday, injuring a child and disrupting funeral services for 25 members of the minority community who had been killed by a heavily armed Islamic State suicide bomber a day earlier.

A magnetic bomb went off close to the Sikh cremation in Kabul, Pajhwok Afghan News quoted a policeman as saying.

It said a child was injured in the blast, which also disrupted the funeral services for the victims of the Islamic State attack on a prominent gurdwara on Wednesday in the heart of Afghanistan's capital of Kabul.

Thursday's attack was the second assault on the minority community in as many days.

Wednesday's attack was one of the deadliest targeting the Sikh community in the strife-torn country. Eighty people, including women and children, were rescued from the gurdwara.

TOLOnews, quoting sources in the Afghan government blaming the dreaded Haqqani group for the attack. The Pakistan-based Haqqani group, designated by the US as a banned terror outfit, has conducted several deadly attacks inside Afghanistan.

Sikh lawmaker Nardendar Singh Khalsa told reporters that up to 150 people were praying inside the gurdwara when it came under attack.

Khalsa, the only representative of the Sikh community in Afghanistan, said he received a call from a worshipper inside the gurdwara, informing him about the attack.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack on the gurdwara, saying the attack on the religious sites shows the extreme weakness of the enemy, religious sites should not be vulnerable to attacks and violence.

War-torn Afghanistan is currently mired in a political stalemate with two politicians- Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah - both claiming victory in the presidential election.

Sikhs have been target of attacks by Islamist militants before in Afghanistan.

In July 2018, ISIS terrorists bombed a gathering of Sikhs and Hindus in the eastern city of Jalalabad, killing 19 people and injuring 20.

Awtar Singh Khalsa, one of the country's best-known Sikh politicians then, was among those killed in the attack. PTI ZH ZH