Islamic State claims responsibility for gun attack that killed three Spanish tourists in Afghanistan

19 May 2024, 18:57 | Updated: 19 May 2024, 21:18

Islamic State has claimed responsibility after three Spanish tourists were killed when gunmen opened fire in Afghanistan's central Bamiyan province.

An Afghan person was also killed, and a further four foreign nationals and three Afghans were injured in the attack in the mountainous region, the Taliban's interior ministry has said.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack on its Telegram channel.

The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday that three of its nationals died in the attack and that at least one more had been injured.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a post on X that he was "overwhelmed" by the news of their deaths.

Taliban spokesman Abdul Mateen Qani said on Friday that four people had been arrested.

Islamic State's affiliate in Afghanistan is a major rival of the country's Taliban government.

It earlier claimed an attack on Chinese citizens at a hotel in the capital Kabul in 2022.

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How Western tourism is on the rise in Afghanistan

Bamiyan province is home to the remains of two giant Buddha statues blown up by the Taliban in 2001 and the region is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Tourism in Afghanistan peaked in the 1960s and 1970s when the country formed part of the popular "hippy trail" route.

Since seizing power in August 2021, the Taliban has tried to promote Afghanistan as a travel destination - despite the fact many countries' foreign offices, including the UK's, say it is unsafe to travel to.

While the numbers remain small, their efforts appear to have so far paid off. In 2021, 691 foreign tourists visited Afghanistan and by 2023, the number had risen to 7,000.