Three Spanish, three Afghans killed in shooting in Afghanistan

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The bodies of three Spanish tourists and three Afghans shot dead while on a tour in Afghanistan were transported to the capital along with multiple wounded, the Taliban government said Saturday.

The group were fired on while walking through a market in the mountainous city of Bamiyan in central Afghanistan, around 180 kilometers (100 miles) from the capital Kabul, on Friday evening.

“All dead bodies have been shifted to Kabul and are in the forensic department and the wounded are also in Kabul. Both dead and wounded include women,” the government’s interior ministry spokesman Abdul Mateen Qani told AFP.

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“Among the eight wounded, of whom four are foreigners, only one elderly foreign woman is not in a very stable situation.”

Qani said the death toll had risen to six, including two Afghan civilians and one Taliban member.

Spain’s foreign ministry on Friday announced that three of the dead were Spanish tourists, adding that at least one other Spanish national was wounded.

According to preliminary information provided by hospital sources, the wounded were from Norway, Australia, Lithuania and Spain.

“They were roaming in the bazaar when they were attacked,” Qani added.

“Seven suspects have been arrested of which one is wounded, the investigation is still going on and the Islamic Emirate is seriously looking into the matter.”

He did not say if there had been multiple shooters.

Fledgling tourism sector

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez posted on X, formerly Twitter: “Overwhelmed by the news of the murder of Spanish tourists in Afghanistan.”

The European Union condemned the attack “in the strongest terms.”

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

The Taliban government, which took power in 2021 after a decade-long insurgency against foreign forces, has yet to be officially recognized by any government.

It has, however, supported a fledgling tourism sector, with more than 5,000 foreign tourists visiting Afghanistan in 2023, according to official figures.

Tourists holiday without consular support, after most embassies were evacuated, and many Western nations advise against all travel to the country, warning of kidnap and attack risks.

Alongside security concerns, the country has limited road infrastructure and a dilapidated health service.

Bamiyan is Afghanistan’s top tourist destination, known for turquoise lakes and striking mountains, and once home to the giant Buddha statues that were blown up by the Taliban in 2001 during their previous rule.

The number of bombings and suicide attacks in Afghanistan has reduced dramatically since the Taliban authorities took power and deadly attacks on foreigners are rare.

However, a number of armed groups, including ISIS, remain a threat.

The group has waged a campaign of attacks on foreign interests in a bid to weaken the Taliban government, targeting Pakistan and Russian embassies as well as Chinese businessmen.

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