ISIS Claims Friday Attack on Tourists in Central Afghanistan

ISIS gunmen shot at Shi’ites, Christian tourists in Bamyan Province

On Sunday, ISIS issued a statement taking credit for Friday’s attack on a group that included foreign tourists in the central Afghan province of Bamyan. The attacks killed at least six people and wounded eight others.

ISIS said the fighters “shot at Christian tourists and their Shi’ite companions” when they were visiting a marketplace in Bamyan. This is the first example of foreign tourists being killed since the Taliban returned to power in 2021.

ISIS explained the attacks by saying they went after a “bus of tourists who are citizens of coalition countries.” They cited orders from ISIS leadership in Iraq and Syria to go after coalition citizens when possible.

Bamyan Province is a popular tourist area, the site of two ancient Buddhist statues destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. Tourism was seen as more or less safe in the area, though the local ISIS affiliate often carries out attacks of opportunity on Shi’ites as well as on Christians.

The three foreign tourists who were killed were from Spain. Among the eight wounded were citizens from Spain, Norway, Australia, and conflicting reports that a fourth was either from Latvia or Lithuania.

Seven suspects had been arrested on suspicion of being involved in the attacks, according to the Taliban’s Interior Ministry. The wounded were said to be in relatively good condition, and at least one underwent a successful surgery.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.