The suicide bombing on the Afghan Sikh and Hindu members in Jalalabad City on Sunday has raised questions among the minority community who have asked government to give a detailed report back on certain issues regarding the deadly incident.
The remarks were made at a prayer ceremony for the victims in Kabul on Tuesday.
Senior government officials including Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak attended and paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the bombing.
Nineteen people including 14 Afghan Sikhs and one Hindu were killed and 20 others were wounded in the explosion on Sunday.
The blast happened a few hundred meters from the provincial governor’s house where President Ashraf Ghani was holding a meeting with Nangarhar officials on Sunday afternoon.
On Tuesday Hindu and Sikh residents of Nangarhar said they want to know how the attack happened while the area was under such tight security by the president’s protection team.
They also claimed that when others arrived to help the wounded they were shot at by security forces.
They also claimed that they had been invited to meet with the president but when they arrived they were made to wait.
“Why did they (security forces) stop the people for 10 minutes? Negligence has happened here. They were talking on walkie-talkies when the explosion happened. When we arrived at the scene after the attack and were collecting the wounded, security forces opened fire on us,” Jasbir Singh, a resident of Nangarhar, said.
“Unfortunately, when we arrived, shots were fired on us. We were helping the wounded, but government forces did not help us,” Kaljit Singh, another resident said.
One survivor of the attack, Gomrit Singh, claimed that the group of Hindu and Sikh residents targeted had been invited by Ghani’s team to visit the president during his stay in Jalalabad.
“We were asked to appear (in the governor’s office) three to four times. Yesterday (Sunday) was our third time. We visited there twice before that. Why were we invited when he (Ghani) did not want to meet us?” asked Gormit.
According to Nangarhar Provincial Council, tight security measures were in place in the province one week ahead of the president’s visit.
"We wonder where the president was sitting, because from there up to the explosion scene the distance was about 600 meters. Over 17 people were killed. This shows the local government, especially the security and intelligence departments’ inability. This is not the first time that such incidents have happened. Over Eid Nangarhar witnessed deadly attacks. We have shared the problem with President (Ashraf Ghani) and high-level officials,” said Ahmad Ali Hazrat, a member of the Nangarhar Provincial Council.
Senior local officials blamed security forces for “their failure”, saying those who “neglected” their duties will be punished based on the law.
The Presidential Palace and Nangarhar officials have rejected claims that the Hindus and Sikhs had been invited by the president’s team.
Among the Afghan Sikhs killed in the Jalalabad attack was a key leader of the minority community, Ottar Singh Khalsa.
Khalsa was the only candidate for the Afghan Sikhs and Hindus in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Khalsa was a resident of Kabul and his body was transferred to the capital on Monday from Jalalabad.
“Afghanistan has enemies who believe in no religion or humanity,” Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said at the ceremony.
One representative of the Hindus and Sikhs in Kabul said most of the Afghan minority community live in Nangarhar, Kabul and Ghazni provinces. He said at least 300 families, over1,000 individuals, are in Afghanistan - considerably less than in the past.