Taliban Attacks American, European Tourists in Afghanistan, Injuring Six

Taliban fighters stand guard in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan / AP
August 4, 2016

Taliban fighters ambushed a van of a dozen tourists from Europe and the United States in western Afghanistan on Thursday, injuring at least six people, Afghan officials said.

The vehicle carried three Americans, six British citizens, two Scots, and one German, said Jailani Farhard, a spokesman for the governor of Herat province, where the attack took place. The nationalities of those injured are not yet known.

The group was accompanied by an Afghan army escort and was headed for Herat city, the country’s ancient culture center, close to the Iranian border.

The Taliban attacked the convoy with gunfire and rockets while the foreigners were traveling on a rural highway in the Chesht-e-Sharif district.

The attack reportedly ended at around 1:30pm local time. About two hours later, the group of tourists arrived at a medical clinic in Obeh district, west of the ambush site.

Thursday’s ambush is the latest in a series of attacks in recent months by a resurgent Taliban. The Pentagon wrote in a June report that the Taliban continues to expand in Afghanistan as the number of Afghans serving in the country’s defense forces dips, despite billions of dollars in U.S. assistance.

Amid the Taliban’s resurgence, President Obama announced last month that he would decrease the number of U.S. troops in the country from 9,800 to 8,400.