The UN Security Council has condemned the "heinous and cowardly" terrorist attack on a gurdwara in Kabul that killed 25 people, underlining the need to hold the perpetrators and sponsors of these "reprehensible" acts to justice.
Over two dozen worshippers were killed and eight others injured when a heavily armed suicide bomber stormed a prominent gurdwara on Wednesday in the heart of Afghanistan's capital of Kabul, in one of the deadliest attacks on the minority Sikh community in the strife-torn country.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the 15-nation Council said it "condemned in the strongest terms the heinous and cowardly terrorist attack" that took place in Shor Bazar area. The Islamic State (IS) terror group, which has targeted Sikhs before in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Expressing their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the government of Afghanistan, the Council members reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.
"The members of the Security Council underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice, and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of Afghanistan and all other relevant authorities," the statement said.
The members of the Security Council reiterate that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed, it said.
The Council reaffirmed the need for all States to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has also condemned the attack, reiterating that attacks against civilians are unacceptable and those who carry out such crimes must be held accountable. There were about 150 worshippers inside the building when the attack took place.
In a tweet, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said it was "outrage" by the attack. "There can be no justification for the killing of civilians at a religious house. Our condolences to the victims and their families."
Meanwhile, Guterres's spokesperson said on Thursday that asylum and refugee rights must be respected the world over, in a reference to the terrorist attack on gurdwara in Kabul. "I think it is important that the asylum regime, the refugee regime, be respected the world over," Stephane Dujarric said.
He was responding to a question on whether the Secretary General supports giving Sikh and Hindu minorities in Afghanistan asylum in India. Sikhs have been target of attacks by Islamist militants before in Afghanistan.
In July 2018, ISIS terrorists bombed a gathering of Sikhs and Hindus in the eastern city of Jalalabad, killing 19 people and injuring 20. Awtar Singh Khalsa, one of the country's best-known Sikh politicians then, was among those killed in the attack.