Taliban raise death toll to 6 in gun attack on Western tourists

ISLAMABAD — The Taliban government said Saturday that the death toll from an overnight gun attack on Western tourists in central Afghanistan had risen to at least six, including three Spaniards.

Interior Ministry spokesperson Abdul Mateen Qani said in a video statement that the Friday evening shooting in Bamiyan city by unknown assailants left three Afghans dead.

He said that four foreigners and three Afghans were among those wounded. Qani said that Taliban security forces had apprehended seven suspects in connection with the attack, reiterating his government’s resolve to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Spain’s government confirmed the fatalities of its three nationals, saying another was among the injured tourists.

The Spanish foreign ministry said Saturday a group of its diplomats was traveling to the Afghan capital, Kabul, to assist Spaniards affected by the attack.

On Friday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez posted on X that he was “shocked by the news of the murder of Spanish tourists in Afghanistan.”

Nationals from Norway, Australia and Lithuania were also among the group of foreigners that were targeted by gunmen.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the deadly shooting.

A spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy at the European Union condemned the armed attack against the tourists visiting Bamiyan.

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

The United States said it was “deeply saddened to hear about the shooting attack” in Bamiyan. “Our thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. Violence is not the answer,” Thomas West, the U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan, said on X.

Friday’s attack on foreign tourists was the first of its kind since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August 2021.

According to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Bamiyan, one of the poorest regions in impoverished Afghanistan, is a popular destination for foreign tourists because it contains Buddhist monastic ensembles and sanctuaries.

The scenic city was also the spot where the Taliban destroyed two large Buddha statues in March 2001 during their previous rule in Afghanistan. The group said the statues were blasphemous under Islam.

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