Afghanistan: Taliban claims attack on foreign tourists

At least seven wounded after group of UK, US and German nationals are ambushed in Herat province.

    Security forces were sent to the scene immediately after the attack [Stringer/EPA]
    Security forces were sent to the scene immediately after the attack [Stringer/EPA]

    Foreign tourists being escorted by an army convoy in western Afghanistan have been ambushed by gunmen in an attack that left at least seven people wounded, Afghan officials say.

    Twelve tourists from the UK, the US and Germany were attacked in the Chesht-e-Sharif district of Herat on Thursday while on their way to the province from Bamiyan and Ghor.

    The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement. Qari Yousef Ahmadi, Taliban spokesman, said the foreigners were killed - a claim the governor's office denied. 

    "A group of Taliban fighters conducted the attack on the tourists, injuring at least six," Jalani Farhad, spokesman for the Herat governor, told Al Jazeera. "However, no one is dead."

    The Afghan driver was also injured, he said.

    Afghanistan's Bamiyan declared South Asian capital of culture

    Al Jazeera's Qais Azimy, reporting from the capital Kabul, said the tourists' vehicle had been hit by an RPG.

    He described the convoy's route as a "dangerous one", adding that "even Afghans would avoid travelling on that road.

    "This journey is three days long by road, and most of it is controlled by warlords, thieves and, of course, the Taliban," our correspondent said.

    "All these things are raising lots of questions; why did these foreigners, in the first place, decide to travel on that road," he said, adding that "no embassy, in no country, would recommend to their citizens to take that road. Everyone knows about the risk."

    Several foreign tourism companies advertise adventure tours to Afghanistan online, including one British firm which had a trip scheduled to the area in Herat this week.

    Western embassies typically warn their citizens against all travel in Afghanistan, citing threats of attacks and kidnapping.

    Both Bamiyan and Herat host several archaeological sites in the country.

    The world's largest Buddha statue in Bamiyan was destroyed by the Taliban in early 2001.

    With reporting by Shereena Qazi: @ShereenaQazi

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.