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Guterres condemns Jalalabad attack targeting Sikhs, Hindus

United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned the suicide attack in Afghanistan’s Jalalabad that killed 19 people, most of them Sikhs, and called for the protection of minorities, his spokesperson Farhan Haq said.

“The Secretary-General extends his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured,” Haq said on Monday.

He noted that “the majority of victims belong to Afghanistan’s small Sikh and Hindu community”, adding: “The Secretary-General urges all parties to uphold their obligation to protect civilians, including minority communities, and cease targeting civilians and civilian facilities.”

“Any attack deliberately targeting civilians is unjustifiable and in clear violation of international law,” he said.

Fourteen of the 19 killed were from the Sikh community remaining in Afghanistan and included parliamentary candidate Avtar Singh Khalsa and civil society activist Rawail Singh.

Twenty others were injured in the blast on Monday.

The Islamic State terror organisation has reportedly taken responsibility for the suicide attack that took place while Sikhs and Hindus had gathered to meet with President Ashraf Ghani.