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Three Spanish Tourists Among Four Killed in Afghanistan Shooting

by Mohammed Ahmed

Three Spanish tourists and an Afghan national were killed in a shooting on Friday evening in Bamiyan, a popular tourist destination in central Afghanistan. The attack, which also left four foreigners and three Afghans wounded, was confirmed by Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Mateen Qani.

Spain’s foreign ministry identified three of the deceased as Spanish tourists, adding that at least one other Spanish national was injured. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expressed his grief on X, formerly known as Twitter, stating, “Overwhelmed by the news of the murder of Spanish tourists in Afghanistan.” The European Union also condemned the attack, offering condolences to the victims’ families.

Hospital sources indicated that the wounded included individuals from Norway, Australia, Lithuania, and Spain. Afghan security forces have arrested four people in connection with the incident, although it remains unclear if there were multiple shooters involved.

The Taliban government issued a strong condemnation of the attack, with Qani assuring that all criminals involved would be found and punished. A local resident reported hearing successive gunshots, and security forces promptly blocked the city streets leading to the site.

Bamiyan, known for the giant Buddhas destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, is Afghanistan’s top tourist destination. Despite the Taliban’s welcoming stance on foreign tourism, the region remains fraught with security risks. The number of foreign visitors has increased since the Taliban ended their insurgency and took power in 2021, although most embassies have been evacuated, leaving tourists without consular support.

Deadly attacks on foreigners have been rare since the Taliban’s return to power. However, the Bamiyan region, predominantly inhabited by the Hazara Shia community, has been targeted by the Islamic State (IS) group, which considers the Hazara heretics. Although the frequency of bombings and suicide attacks has decreased, armed groups like IS continue to pose a threat.

In a related incident, a foreign tourist in Herat province reported that Taliban authorities had warned him and others of the increased danger following the Bamiyan shooting. After some negotiation, they were allowed to proceed but advised to remain cautious.

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