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Afghanistan: three Spanish tourists killed by gunfire in Bamiyan

Three Spanish tourists and an Afghan were arrested. killed by gunfire late Friday afternoon in Bamiyan, tourist town in central Afghanistan, according to official Afghan and Spanish sources.

This deadly attack is apparently the first against foreign tourists in Afghanistan since the Taliban returned to power in August 2021.

“Three foreigners and an Afghan were killed” and “four foreigners and three Afghans were injured” by a series of gunshots, said ministry spokesperson Abdul Mateen Qani, without specifying whether the assault had been carried out by one or more shooters.

In Madrid, a source within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in the evening that the three killed were of Spanish nationality.

“Three Spaniards were killed and at least one was injured in a shootout in Afghanistan,” said this source, who asked to remain anonymous.

“The Ministry is working, through the Consular Emergency Unit, to clarify the circumstances, assist those affected and contact their families”, added this source.

For his part, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez declared himself “shocked” by the “assassination” of these Spanish tourists and assured that he was “monitoring the situation very closely.”

In Kabul, the spokesperson for the Interior Ministry indicated that four suspects had been arrested, without further details.

The injured are Norwegian, Australian, Lithuanian and Spanish, according to preliminary information from a hospital source.

“I heard a series of gunshots,” said a resident contacted by AFP and refusing to give his name, “the security forces immediately sealed off the streets leading to the scene of the killing, near the large Bamiyan market.

Bamiyan, where there are the giant Buddhas dynamited by the Taliban in 2001, is Afghanistan's leading tourist destination.

The province of Bamiyan is mainly inhabited by members of the Hazara community, Shiites. These are regularly targeted by deadly attacks by the Sunni Islamic State (IS) group, generally carried out with explosive devices against vehicles.

Apart from attacks by the 'IS, security has generally returned to Afghanistan since 2021, after more than 40 years of deadly conflicts.

– Emerging tourism –

“The Islamic Emirate strongly condemns this crime, expresses its deep regrets to the families of the victims and guarantees that all the criminals will be found and punished,” said the spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior.

The murder of tourists is bad news for this country, one of the poorest in the world and keen to develop emerging tourism.

Despite the lack of infrastructure and the scarcity of cultural sites after the destruction and pillaging of wars, foreign tourism is beginning to emerge in this country with an extremely welcoming population and grandiose landscapes.

The number of foreign tourists in Afghanistan increased by 120% to nearly 5,200 last year over one year, according to official figures.

Arriving Friday evening in Herat (west), a foreign tourist indicated on a WhatsApp group: “We were stopped by the Taliban while we were walking in the street. They took us to the police station and wouldn't let us go, saying that because of Bamiyan we were no longer safe.”

“Then they took us told to have dinner quickly and not to stay in the streets.”

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116