At seats 4 killed in Afghanistan attack

Afghanistan attack

Three Spanish tourists, as well as their Afghan guide have been gunned down in Central Afghanistan, in an attack that is suspected of being carried out by Islamic State in Afghanistan.

The deaths have been confirmed by the Spanish government, as well as the Afghanistan Interior Ministry. It has also been reported that four other foreigners from different nations, as well as three Afghans were also injured to varying degrees of seriousness.

Following the attack Afghan interior ministry spokesman Abdul Mateen Qani said four people had been arrested, although it has not been confirmed if there were IS members. 

In an official statement Mr Qani said 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”.

Tourism in Afghanistan

Despite its recent history of strife some vestige of normality has returned to Afghanistan, which has also been accompanied by somewhat of a surge in tourism. This was particularly the case in the in the central Afghanistan city of Bamiyan, famously home to the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

These were famously blown up the original incarnation of the Taliban in 2001 in a move that received international condemnation.

The attacks though will likely call into question the safety of tours within Taliban run Afghanistan, as well as to what extent the Islamic State in Afghanistan is a danger to the regime. 

And while no company has yet confirmed that the group traveled with them, there have been statements by travel agents within the country that tours were being “looked at”.

Sources within the country have confirmed that the ministry of interior were meeting today in order to decide on the immediate future of tourism within the country. Options being touted are providing tourists with an armed security detail, restricting access to certain parts of the country, or simply banning tourism altogether.

Interestingly the court also stated that the government might claim that the tourists were merely caught in crossfire. This though is extremely unlikely as not only did it occur in a tourist area, but those targeted were foreigners.

To read about why the Taliban are no longer the bad guys click here

The world needs to assist Afghanistan

The attack also severely highlights western failures within Afghanistan over the last 40 years, with the incident once again showing that west needs to be careful what it wishes for.

Yes there is no love lost for the Taliban, but they need to be seen through a 2024 lens. And as has been seen throughout the region, such as with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, if you push out the moderates – in that case Fatah then there are always extremists ready to take their place.

The western world needs to swallow its pride and assist the Taliban in its fight against the Islamic state, or risk worse through either a return to the Islamic State, or an internal coup which replaces the moderates with extremists in Afghanistan.

Sadly this is unlikely to happen any time soon though, as to give legitimacy to the Taliban would be to admit the war with, occupation of, and deaths in Afghanistan were frankly for nothing.