Gunmen kill 4, including 3 Spanish tourists, in Afghanistan

International Desk Published: 18 May 2024, 08:20 AM
Gunmen kill 4, including 3 Spanish tourists, in Afghanistan
A Taliban soldier stands guard in front of the ruins of a 1,500-year-old Buddha statue in Bamyan, Afghanistan.

Gunmen have killed an Afghan citizen and three foreign tourists in central Afghanistan’s Bamyan province, the Ministry of Interior Affairs says.

Four foreign nationals and three Afghans were also injured in the attack on Friday when gunmen opened fire, ministry spokesman Abdul Mateen Qani said.

Four people have been arrested, he said.

The Taliban government “strongly condemns this crime, expresses its deep feelings to the families of the victims and assures that all the criminals will be found and punished”, Qani said in a statement.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the late evening attack.

Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs later confirmed that the three individuals killed on Friday were Spanish citizens. At least one Spanish national was also among those injured.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a post on social media that he was “overwhelmed by the news of the murder of Spanish tourists in Afghanistan”, offering his condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

Sanchez also said he was following the situation closely and pledged consular support.

The mountainous region of Bamyan is Afghanistan’s top tourist destination, home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the remains of two giant Buddha statues that the Taliban blew up during their previous rule of Afghanistan in 2001.

Since taking over the country again in 2021 after the withdrawal of United States-led forces, the Taliban have promised to restore security and encourage a small but growing number of tourists trickling into the country.

Friday’s attack was the deadliest since the Taliban took over three years ago.

ISIL (ISIS) claimed an attack that injured Chinese citizens at a hotel popular with Chinese businessmen in the Afghan capital, Kabul, in 2022.

The European Union condemned the attack in Bamyan in a brief statement on Friday.

“Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the victims who lost their lives and those injured in the attack,” it said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies