UN experts turn to plight of vulnerable Afghan Sikhs facing ‘annihilation’

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IN the 1990s, they numbered around 80,000. Today there are just 270 Sikhs in Afghanistan – and an expert to the UN says that community faces “almost certain annihilation”.

With the Taliban now in control of almost all of Afghanistan, its minority communities face particular threat.

Sikhs have been present in the country for hundreds of years – the Guru Nanak’s 16th century visit laid the foundations for its enduring presence, it is said. But the community’s religious freedoms aren’t protected under the Afghan constitution and members have been killed in targeted attacks in recent years. In one 2018 Jalalabad attack, Sikh member of parliament Avtar Singh Khalsa was amongst the figureheads and activists to die in a suicide bombing.