Death Toll from Attack in Afghanistan Climbs to Six: Officials

Sat May 18 2024
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KABUL: The death toll from an attack in the tourism destination of Bamiyan in central Afghanistan has climbed to six, including three Afghans and three Spanish nationals, Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry said on Saturday.

Earlier, the interior ministry said three foreign tourists and one Afghan were killed in a shooting in the popular tourist destination of Bamiyan in central Afghanistan on Friday.

“One Afghan and three foreign nationals were killed,” interior ministry spokesman Abdul Mateen Qani said. The incident took place in the city of Bamiyan on Friday evening.

Another four foreigners and three Afghans were injured, he added.

Qani said the “foreigners were here for tourism”, without specifying the nationalities of the foreign victims.

According to preliminary information provided by hospital sources, the three foreigners killed were Spanish citizens.

The injured were from Norway, Australia, Lithuania and Spain.

Three Foreign Tourists Among Four Killed in Afghanistan Shooting

Diplomatic sources said they were trying to confirm the information, including the identities of the dead.

Security forces have detained four people in connection with the attack, Qani said.

He did not say if there were more shooters.

In a statement, Qani said that the Taliban government strongly condemned the crime, expressed its deep feelings to the families of the victims and assured that all criminals will be found and punished.

A local resident, who opted not to disclose his name, said he “heard the sounds of successive gunshots and the city streets leading to the site were immediately blocked by security forces”.

Home to giant Buddhas blown up by the Taliban in 2001, Bamiyan is Afghanistan’s top tourist destination.

Deadly attacks on foreigners have been rare in Afghanistan since the Taliban took over in August 2021.

Tourists have been traveling to the country in increasing numbers in recent years as security has improved since the Taliban ended its insurgency after toppling the US-backed government.

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After arriving in the western province of Herat on Friday night, a foreign tourist posted on a WhatsApp group for travelers in Afghanistan that he and others were stopped by Taliban authorities, saying “we are no longer safe because of Bamiyan”.

“After some time and Google translation, we convinced them to let us go, they said go get a quick meal and get off the streets,” the tourist said.

The Bamiyan area is mostly inhabited by members of the Hazara Shiite community.

The historically persecuted religious minority has repeatedly been targeted by the Daesh group, which considers them heretics.

The number of bombings and suicide attacks in Afghanistan has decreased dramatically since the Taliban took power. However, a number of armed groups, including IS, still remain a threat.

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