Citing Taliban strife, Afghan Sikhs and Hindus ask UN for asylum
KABUL — Living in a deeply religious, overwhelmingly Muslim nation, Afghan Sikhs and Hindus have suffered their share of hardships: taunts, attacks, desecration of cremation sites, marginalization and poverty. Many possess a bottomless collection of grim tales.
Few of their stories, however, are from the five years of fundamentalist Islamic theocracy imposed by the Taliban, who made Hindus and Sikhs wear yellow badges, or even the brutal wars of the 1980s and ’90s.
It is the 11 years since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan that has left the community decimated by emigration and remaining members desperately trying to find a way out.
With echoes of the mass migration of Iraqi Christians, who faced violence and threats during the Iraq War, Afghan Sikhs and Hindus with the means rushed to find asylum elsewhere as the still-wobbly government in Kabul has struggled to protect one of the few religious minorities left in the country.
Now, much of the dwindling population is trying to leave en masse. On Tuesday, their leader submitted letters to the United Nations and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, asking for help finding asylum for the remaining members of the Afghan community.