An explosive device went off on Thursday a short distance from the site in Kabul where the cremation of the 25 Sikhs killed in a terror attack was underway, though there were no casualties, according to media reports.
The device exploded in a house in Qalacha area, not far from where members of the Sikh minority were cremating those killed in the attack on a Sikh place of worship at Shor Bazar on Wednesday. A second explosive device was defused by Afghan security forces in the same area, the media reports said.
People familiar with developments confirmed on Thursday that an Indian national named Tian Singh, a resident of New Delhi, was among the 25 people killed in the attack. Singh's wife, in a letter sent to the Prime Minister, requested the repatriation of his body.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar tweeted: "Deeply concerned at the blasts reported near the cremation site of those killed during the attack on Gurudwara Sahib in Kabul." He added the Indian embassy was in touch with Afghan authorities to "ensure adequate security onsite as well as safe return of families to their homes".
Jaishankar also said the Indian embassy was working to repatriate the body of Tian Singh. Though Singh's wife, in her letter, also called for those wounded in Wednesday's attack to be shifted to New Delhi, Jaishankar said medical opinion was "against moving [the] injured at this stage".
The external affairs minister said there was "understandable grief and anger" over the terror attack and the Indian embassy was in touch with the families of those killed and injured.
Indian ambassador Vinay Kumar visited the Sikh place of worship and met community leaders and families of the victims on Thursday. He was told the injured were receiving satisfactory treatment.
The Islamic State claimed the attack, though Afghan officials said the Pakistan-based Haqqani Network was behind it. In a statement issued late on Wednesday, the Islamic State claimed the attack was "revenge" for developments in Kashmir and that it was carried out by an attacker using the "kunya" or assumed name of "Abu Khalid al Hindi", suggesting that he was of Indian origin.
The Islamic State provided no other information about the attacker or his origin. Afghan officials have said four suicide attackers were involved in the incident and that they were all killed.
The suicide attackers targeted a "dharamshala" in Kabul's Shor Bazar, which has a sizeable population of the Hindu and Sikh minorities. Reports said the attack began at 7.45am Afghan time.
Images of the shrine posted on social media showed bloodstains on its floor. Other photos showed security forces and local residents evacuating the injured in ambulances. Witnesses said they heard several explosions during the gun battle.
On Wednesday, India condemned the attack and commended the Afhgan security forces. "Such cowardly attacks on the places of religious worship of the minority community, especially at this time of Covid-19 pandemic, are reflective of the diabolical mindset of the perpetrators and their backers," the external affairs ministry said in a statement, in which it hailed the "valorous response to the attack and exemplary courage and dedication" of the Afghan forces.
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