Gunmen Kill Three Spanish Tourists in Afghanistan’s Central Bamyan Province

REUTERS/Ali Khara/File Photo
A Taliban soldier stands guard in front of the ruins of a 1500-year-old Buddha statue in Bamyan, Afghanistan, March 2, 2023.

KABUL/MADRID/DELHI (Reuters) – Three Spanish tourists were killed and at least one Spaniard was injured in an attack by gunmen in Afghanistan’s central Bamyan province, Spain’s foreign ministry said on Friday.

Earlier on Friday, Taliban interior ministry spokesman Abdul Mateen Qaniee had said that three foreign tourists and one Afghan citizen had been killed in the attack.

Four foreign nationals and three Afghans were also injured in the attack when gunmen opened fire, he added. Four people have been arrested, he said.

The Spanish foreign ministry said that the consular emergency unit had been fully mobilized and the victims and their families were being assisted.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez wrote on social messaging platform X that he was “shocked by the news of the murder of Spanish tourists in Afghanistan.” There was no immediate indication of why the attack happened.

Mountainous Bamyan is home to a UNESCO world heritage site and the remains of two giant Buddha statues which were blown up by the Taliban during their previous rule in 2001.

Since taking over Afghanistan in 2021 the Taliban have vowed to restore security and encourage a small but growing number of tourists trickling into the country and sell tickets to access the Buddha statues.

Friday’s attack was among the most serious targeting foreign citizens since foreign forces left and the Taliban took over in 2021.

The Islamic State claimed an attack that injured Chinese citizens at a hotel popular with Chinese businessmen in Kabul in 2022.