Three Catalan tourists were shot dead this Friday, along with an Afghan citizen, when they were visiting the city of Bamiyan, in central Afghanistan, according to the spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior, Abdul Mateen Qani, who added that in the same attack ” “four foreigners and three Afghans were injured.” At least one of the injured would be Spanish. Qani did not specify whether the attack was committed by one or more shooters, but explained that four suspects were detained.

The Spanish Foreign Ministry confirmed the news this Friday night. “Three Spaniards have died and at least one has been injured in a shooting in Afghanistan, according to information that is reaching the ministry in contact with the Delegation of the European Union in the area. The ministry works, through the Consular Emergency Unit, to clarify the circumstances, assist those affected with everything they need and contact their families,” said a brief statement from the Spanish Government.

Subsequently, the Government reported that the three deceased Spanish nationals were Catalan and that the Mossos d’Esquadra had already begun the tasks of repatriating the bodies of the deceased. The Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, also confirmed it.

The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, reacted immediately and, through X, said he was “overwhelmed by the news of the murder of Spanish tourists in Afghanistan.” Sánchez assured that he was following the situation “punctually” and that the “Consular Emergency Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working to offer all the necessary assistance.” The Spanish president conveyed all his “affection” to the “family and friends” of the deceased.

Diplomats from different countries were trying this Friday night to confirm the identities of the wounded in the Bamiyan hospitals. According to AFP, hospital authorities have confirmed that among the injured there could be, in addition to Spaniards, citizens of Norway, Australia and Lithuania.

Qani strongly condemned the attack through X, expressed his condolences to the families of the victims on behalf of the Taliban government and promised that those responsible will be punished. The attack took place around 5:30 p.m. (local time), when at least one gunman shot at a group of tourists leaving a bazaar. This Friday night no group had yet claimed the action.

This Friday’s attack is the first attack against foreign tourists in Afghanistan since the Taliban returned to power in August 2021 and occurs at a time when authorities are trying to attract foreign tourists to boost the economy and improve the government’s international image. . Recently, the Taliban inaugurated a tourism and hospitality institute to improve the country’s tourism infrastructure. In addition, the Government has attempted to reassure tourism agencies that Afghanistan is safe for visitors, despite the continued threat from an Islamic State-affiliated group in the region, which has carried out sporadic attacks – although so far, no against foreign tourists – with the aim of destabilizing the Taliban government.

The province of Bamiyan is inhabited mainly by members of the Hazara community, Shiites, who are periodically targeted by attacks – usually with explosives – by the Islamic State, who are Sunnis. In addition, Bamiyan is one of the main tourist destinations in the country and is where the figures of the giant Buddhas were located, which were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, during their first stage in power.