NewsIslamic State attacks Spanish tourists in Afghanistan market

Islamic State attacks Spanish tourists in Afghanistan market

Ruins of the ancient Buddha statues in Bamiyan
Ruins of the ancient Buddha statues in Bamiyan
Images source: © Getty Images | Majid Saeedi

6:04 AM EDT, May 20, 2024

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for an attack on Spanish tourists in Afghanistan. The Taliban reported that the shooting took place in Bamiyan Province, located in central Afghanistan.

The attack occurred at a local market in Bamiyan while the tourists were shopping. A spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Interior, Mufti Qani, reported that four people were killed and four others were injured in the shooting. The deceased include one Afghan citizen and three Spanish tourists.

Afghans report that those injured in the attack are citizens of Norway, Australia, Lithuania, and Spain. The authorities also confirm that an official investigation has commenced, and initial arrests have already been made in the case.

Security forces have initiated searches for the killers, and so far, four people have been arrested in this case. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan strongly condemns this incident, expresses deep condolences to the families of the victims, and assures that all criminals will, hopefully, be found and punished - wrote Mufti Abdul Qani on platform X.

Spanish authorities react to the attack on their citizens

Spanish authorities have confirmed the information. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez addressed the issue on Friday evening on platform X.

I am shocked by the news of the murder of Spanish tourists in Afghanistan. I am closely monitoring the situation. The consular rescue unit is working on providing all necessary assistance. I want to extend my condolences to their families and friends - Sanchez wrote.

On Saturday, the Spanish prosecutor's office provided more details. An investigation into the shooting in Afghanistan has been launched, considering potential links to terrorism. It was also revealed who the victims were: a man and two women from northeastern Spain.

Tourism in Afghanistan

In Bamiyan Province, there are remnants of two giant Buddha statues that were blown up by the Taliban in 2001. The region is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Since taking power, the Taliban have been trying to promote Afghanistan as a tourist destination. In 2021, the country was visited by 691 international tourists. In 2023, this number has increased to 7,000.

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