07/02/2018, 09.27
AFGHANISTAN
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Jalalabad, ISIS attacks Sikh and Hindu minorities: 19 dead

The attack on a group heading to meet the Afghan president visiting the province. Among the victims also the only Sikh candidate for the elections. It is the second attack claimed by the Islamic State in 24 hours.

Kabul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 19 dead, including 10 Sikhs and seven Hindus, and more than 20 wounded. This is the toll from the umpteenth suicide attack that took place yesterday, in Jalalabad city (Nangarhar, eastern Afghanistan), targeting the minorities of the country: the victims included Ottar Singh Khalsa, the only representative of the Sikh minority to have announced his candidacy in parliamentary elections scheduled for October.

It is the second attack by ISIS in the province in 24 hours. The previous day, Islamic fundamentalists had attacked a male high school, setting it on fire and beheading three workers.

The suicide bomber blew himself up in the city center, in the first police district, around 4 pm. The group was headed for a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani when the bomb exploded. The injured were taken to the city hospital; some of them are in serious condition.

The small Sikh and Hindu minorities living in Afghanistan have long been targeted by Islamists. The two communities dramatically decreased in recent decades: from more than 80 thousand in the 1970s, to just over 1000. Many have moved to India, which they consider their "spiritual homeland". Last night, the Indian embassy in Kabul condemned the attack and addressed its condolences to the victims and their families.

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