Expressing solidarity with the Sikh and Hindu communities facing persecution in Afghanistan, former US vice president Joe Biden has said that recent attacks, including the one on a gurdwara, demonstrates the dangerous conditions of religious minorities in the war-torn country and urged the Trump administration to consider the request for emergency refugee protection.
Asserting that the Hindu and Sikh communities are Afghans and a vital part of the country's heritage, Biden, who is the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee, said that the intense persecution they have faced in recent decades is an unspeakable tragedy.
With the recent uptick in violence in Afghanistan, including a horrifying attack this week on a hospital maternity ward, I want to express my concern about the situation facing Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan, including the terrorist attack on Sikhs at the Gurdwara Har Rai Sahib in Kabul in March. Sikhs and Hindus are not outsiders living in Afghanistan, Biden said in a recent post on Medium, an online publishing platform.
Militants attacked a maternity hospital in Kabul on Tuesday, killing 14 people, including two newborn babies, their mothers and an unspecified number of nurses.
Over two dozen worshippers were killed and eight others injured when a heavily armed suicide bomber stormed a prominent gurdwara on March 25 in the heart of Afghanistan's capital of Kabul, in one of the deadliest attacks on the minority Sikh community in the strife-torn country.
I vividly recall when, in the mid-1990s, the Taliban sought to make Sikhs and Hindus wear yellow to identify them as non-Muslims. The recent attack against Afghanistan's Sikh community demonstrates once again the dangerous conditions for religious minorities, he said.
Alleging that the Trump administration has decimated America's refugee policy and ended its role as the world leader in welcoming people fleeing violence and persecution, Biden said that if elected president, his administration will renew the US' commitment to refugees.
I stand with the Sikh and Hindu communities in Afghanistan seeking safety for their families and the freedom to practice their faiths, and urge the Department of State to consider the request for emergency refugee protection, Biden said.
In a statement, Sikh Coalition welcomed Biden's statement.
The United States government can and must do more to protect all religious minorities in Afghanistan, said Satjeet Kaur, Sikh Coalition's Executive Director.
Sikhs in Afghanistan are bearing the unimaginable pain of losing their families and being forced out of the only place they have known as home. The international community, including the United States, must join Canada's efforts to protect these families from extinction, she said.
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