Australian man injured in Afghanistan shooting reportedly in stable condition – SBS News

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Key Points
  • Australian man Joe McDowell was injured in a shooting in the central Afghanistan city of Bamyan.
  • In a photo recently shared on social media, McDowell appeared on a hospital bed.
  • Three Spanish tourists and three Afghan citizens were killed in the shooting, while McDowell was one of eight injured.
An Australian who was injured in the Bamyan shooting in central Afghanistan is said to be stable in a hospital in the nation’s capital.
Joe McDowell was injured in the shooting, along with at least four others, while three Spanish tourists and three Afghan citizens were killed.
In a picture shared online by Australian Jibrael Umar, formerly known as Timothy Weeks, McDowell appears on a hospital bed.

“Today I visited my Australian brother, Joe McDowell, who is well and is now in Kabul. He thanked the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan for its support. May God comfort the families of the tourists who were killed in the brutal attack in Bamyan,” a translation of the post reads.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said it was providing consular assistance to an Australian in Afghanistan but could not comment further for privacy reasons.
Spain’s government said three of the dead were Spanish tourists and one of the wounded was also a Spanish woman, who had been seriously injured and underwent surgery in Kabul.
The consular emergency unit had been fully mobilised and the victims and their families were being assisted, Spain’s foreign ministry said.

The dead included three Afghans — two civilians and a Taliban member, the government’s interior ministry spokesman Abdul Mateen Qani said.

What happened in Bamyan?

The group was fired on while shopping in the bazaar in the mountainous city of Bamyan, around 180km from the capital Kabul, on Friday.
French tourist Anne-France Brill, one of the dozen foreign travellers on an organised tour, said a gunman on foot approached the group’s vehicles and opened fire.
“There was blood everywhere,” the 55-year-old told the Agence France-Presse from Dubai, where she landed on Saturday after being evacuated from Kabul with two Americans.

“One thing is certain,” she said, the assailant “was there for the foreigners”.

The attack is believed to be the first deadly assault on foreign tourists since the Taliban returned to power in 2021 in a country where few nations have a diplomatic presence.
The bodies of those killed were transported to Kabul, along with the wounded and survivors, after bad weather made an airlift impossible.
Italian NGO Emergency, which operates a hospital in Kabul, received the injured who it said were from Spain, Lithuania, Norway, Australia and Afghanistan.
“The wounded people arrived at our hospital at 3:00 am this morning, about 10 hours after the incident took place,” said Dejan Panic, Emergency’s country director in Afghanistan, in a statement.

“The Afghan national was the most critically injured, but all patients are now stable,” he added.

Local officials said the civilians were working with the tour group, while the Taliban security official had returned fire when the shooting broke out.
Interior ministry spokesman Abdul Mateen Qani said seven suspects had been arrested, “of which one is wounded”.
“The investigation is still going on and the Islamic Emirate is seriously looking into the matter,” he added.

There has not yet been a claim of responsibility.

The Taliban government has yet to be officially recognised by any foreign government.
It has, however, supported a fledgling tourism sector, with more than 5,000 foreign tourists visiting Afghanistan in 2023, according to official figures.
Western nations advise against all travel to the country, warning of kidnap and attack risks.
Alongside security concerns, the country has limited road infrastructure and a dilapidated health service.
Multiple foreign tourism companies offer guided package tours to Afghanistan, often including visits to highlights in cities such as Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif and Bamyan.
Bamyan is Afghanistan’s top tourist destination, once home to the giant Buddha statues that were blown up by the Taliban in 2001 during their previous rule.
The number of bombings and suicide attacks in Afghanistan has fallen dramatically since the Taliban authorities took power, and deadly attacks on foreigners are rare.

However, a number of armed groups, including the self-proclaimed Islamic State group, remain a threat.

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