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4 killed, including 3 foreign tourists, in Afghanistan shooting: govt

Taliban authorities execute two people for murder in Afghan stadium: AFP journalist
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Three foreign tourists and an Afghan were killed on Friday in a shooting in the popular tourism destination of Bamiyan in central Afghanistan, the interior ministry said.

“One Afghan and three foreign nationals were killed,” in gunfire Friday evening in Bamiyan city, interior ministry spokesman Abdul Mateen Qani, told AFP.

Another four foreigners and three Afghans were wounded, he added.

Qani said the “foreigners were here for tourism”, without giving the nationalities of the foreign victims.

According to preliminary information provided by hospital sources, the three foreigners who were killed were Spanish nationals.

The wounded were from Norway, Australia, Lithuania and Spain.

Diplomatic sources said they were seeking to confirm the information, including the identities of the dead.

Security forces have arrested four people in connection with the attack, Qani said.

He did not say if there had been multiple shooters.

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.

A local resident, who did not want to be named, said he “heard the sounds of successive gunshots, and the city streets leading to the site were blocked immediately by the security forces”.

Bamiyan, home to the giant Buddhas blown up by the Taliban in 2001, is Afghanistan’s top tourist destination.

The Taliban government has yet to be officially recognised by any country but it has welcomed foreign tourism.

Increasing numbers of visitors have travelled to Afghanistan as security has improved since the Taliban ended their insurgency after ousting the Western-backed government in 2021.

They holiday without consular support after most embassies were evacuated following the Taliban authorities’ takeover, with Western governments warning against visiting.

Deadly attacks on foreigners have been rare in Afghanistan since the Taliban returned to power.

Arriving in western Herat province Friday evening, a foreign tourist posted on a WhatsApp group for travellers in Afghanistan that he and others were stopped by the Taliban authorities and told “that because of Bamiyan we were no longer safe”.

“After some time and Google translate, we convinced them to let us go, they said go eat quickly and get off the streets,” the tourist said.

The Bamiyan region is majority inhabited by members of the Hazara Shiite community.

The historically persecuted religious minority has been repeatedly targeted by the Islamic State group, which considers them heretics.

The number of bombings and suicide attacks in Afghanistan has reduced dramatically since the Taliban authorities took power.

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

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AFP

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.







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