In a recent development in Afghanistan, a delegation comprising Sikhs and Hindus, who reside in Afghanistan met with the Kabul Mayor on 9th October 2022 to address the problems being faced by the minorities in Afghanistan.
The Kabul Mayor on his part assured to address the problems being faced by the minority communities in Afghanistan. The Mayor of Kabul, Maulvi Abdul Rasheed, while meeting the Hindus and Sikhs assured them of full cooperation from the Kabul municipality regarding their grievances. The delegation appealed to the Kabul municipality to help them in recovering their lands which remains unlawfully seized by the authorities and requested the leadership of the Kabul municipality to cooperate with them.
Abdul Rasheed said, “for the Taliban regime, the Hindu and Sikh citizens are equal as other Afghan citizens and that the Kabul municipality is fully committed to provide best of civic facilities for the Hindus and Sikhs in their residential areas.
The Mayor also assured the delegation that they will have their own representative from their locality to share problems with the government.
The Sikh and Hindu delegation thanked Kabul Municipality for paying attention to their request for developing urban infrastructure facilities in their residential areas.
The delegation also felt relieved by the assurance given to them by the Mayor and termed it satisfactory. The delegation also hoped that their grievances would be addressed on time.
The delegation discussed and hoped that they will be part of the upcoming elections in Guzar and that the regime will allow them to participate in the election campaigns and will give them equal rights as given to other Afghan nationals.
Though the municipality vowed to protect and provide the rights of the Sikhs and Hindus during the meeting, the history of Taliban rule however speaks a different story.
Sikhs have been subjected to continuous persecution at the hands of various fundamental and terrorist organizations. With decades of conflicts, first after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and subsequently after the Taliban rule and the US invasions, the number of Sikhs in Afghanistan has come down significantly.
The population of Sikhs till the 1970s was approximated to be around 100,000 which now has been reduced to a mere few hundreds. However, there is no official account of the number of Sikhs in Afghanistan as the country witnessed several years of long conflicts.
The figure about the number of Sikhs residing in Afghanistan is only known to the community members.
Earlier in September 2022, the Taliban prevented the Sikhs (who were traveling back to India) to carry their holy scriptures “Guru Granth Sahib” with them.
After the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, many minorities including Hindus and Sikhs who were living in Afghanistan started to flee from Afghanistan. Still, a handful of Sikhs and Hindus reside in the war-torn country as they feared that they would become the target of many hardcore fundamentalist forces.
With the past experience of Taliban rule and the prevalence of sectarianism in Afghanistan, there is little hope that the assurance given by the Kabul municipality to protect the rights of Sikhs and Hindus will be fulfilled.