Last week, the Taliban had allegedly removed Nishan Sahib, a Sikh religious flag, from a gurdwara in eastern Afghanistan, but was restored after widespread criticism. Puneet Singh Chandhok, president of the Indian World Forum, had said the caretaker of the gurdwara informed him that several Taliban fighters revisited the place and agreed to its “functioning as per customs".
The incident related to the removal of the sacred Sikh symbol has brought to the fore a lesser-known aspect of Afghanistan, that the country has been a home to many historic gurdwaras across several cities as well as villages. Many of them have been lost in the civil war leading to the exit of most Hindu and Sikh families from Afghanistan.
Now, amid the Afghanistan-Taliban conflict, Punjabis across the world have expressed concerns over the upkeep and safety of gurdwaras in Afghanistan. This is an important part of history, which unfortunately, is on the verge of being wiped out.
Most of these gurdwaras had historic significance and also point towards the fact that Sikhs and Hindus have had a long history of living in Afghanistan. Many had handwritten copies of the sacred texts of Sikhs — Sri Guru Granth Sahib and Dasham Granth.
List of gurdwaras in Afghanistan
Gurdwara Bhai Nand Lal Goya, Ghazni; Gurdwara Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Jalalabad;
Gurdwara Baba Sri Chand, Kabul; Gurdwara Karte Parwan, Mohalla Karte Parwan, Kabul; Gurdwara Koth Sahib, Kabul-Tashkant Road, Aksara, Kabul; Gurdwara Kotha Sahib, Ghazni; Gurdwara Baba Nanak, Jade Mewan, Kabul; Gurdwara Guru Har Rai, Shor Bazar, Kabul; Gurdwara Khalsa, Shor Bazar, Kabul and Gurdwara Khalsa Diwan, Chashma Sahib, Sultanpur.
Manjinder Singh Sirsa approaches Centre
Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee chief leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa has also urged the Central Government to ensure the safety of Sikhs and gurdwaras in Afghanistan.
"I am in constant touch with President, Gurdwara Committee of Kabul & Sangat who have told me that 320+ people of minorities living in Ghazni & Jalalabad (including 50 Hindus and 270+ Sikhs) have taken refuge in Karte Parwan Gurdwara in Kabul in wake of recent developments," tweeted Sirsa.