Taliban claims responsibility for attack on tourists in Afghanistan

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Afghan security forces inspect a burnt-out vehicle believed to have transported foreign tourists who came under attack from Taliban militants in western Herat province on August 5, 2016.
Taliban militants attacked a group of 12 American and European tourists escorted by an Afghan army convoy in western Herat province on August 4, leaving at least seven people wounded as the insurgents step up nationwide attacks. / AFP / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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The Taliban has claimed responsibility for an attack on foreign tourists traveling in Afghanistan’s western Herat province. In a text message to journalists, Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack saying, “the foreigners had come to Herat for a mysterious aim.”

The six tourists were injured when a rocket struck the vans they were traveling on Thursday, according to Afghan Army spokesman Najibullah Najibi. An Afghan driver was also wounded in the attack.

Jilani Farhad, a spokesman for Herat’s governor, said the tourists were from the United States, Ireland, Britain, and Germany.

The injured were among a party of 11 tourists riding in two vans when the rocket struck. They were traveling through Herat’s Chest-e-Sharif district, district chief Farhad Khademi told CNN. The convoy was accompanied by Afghan Security Force vehicles, he added.

“We are providing assistance to British nationals involved in the attack in Herat and are in close contact with the local authorities,” Britain’s foreign office said in a statement.

The group was around 25 km (16 miles) from the province’s administrative center when the rocket struck around 11 a.m. local time (2:30 a.m. ET).

The tourists began their journey in central Bamyan province and traveled through Ghor province, before entering Herat.

Many countries, including the US and the UK, have longstanding travel advisories warning against all but essential travel to Afghanistan due to the security situation throughout the country.

In 2014, two foreign aid workers with the International Assistance Mission were killed in the city of Herat.

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