WA man Joe McDowell injured in deadly Afghanistan shooting – The West Australian

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WA man Joe McDowell survived a deadly shooting in Afghanistan.
Camera IconWA man Joe McDowell survived a deadly shooting in Afghanistan. Credit: @AfghanistanSola/X/supplied

A West Australian man has miraculously survived a public shooting in the Bamyan province of Afghanistan which left three other foreigners dead and four injured.

Joe McDowell, whose family live in Karratha, was among those caught in the deadly shooting at the bazaar in the city of Bamyan on Friday night.

Reports suggested three Spanish tourists were killed amid the gunfire.

Mr McDowell was pictured injured but alive in a hospital in Kabul. Jibra’il Omar, an Australian academic previously known as Timothy Weeks, posted a photo on social media platform X.

“Today I visited my Australian brother, Joe McDowell, who is well and is now in Kabul,” he wrote in Persian.

“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.”

Interior Ministry spokesman Mufti Abdul Mateen Qani also confirmed the shooting.

WA man Joe McDowell survived a deadly shooting in Afghanistan.
Camera IconWA man Joe McDowell survived a deadly shooting in Afghanistan. Credit: Joe McDowell/instagram/supplied

“Unfortunately, this evening in the Bamyan city, there was a shooting against the public, in which three foreigners including one Afghan were killed and four foreigners including three Afghans were injured,” he said.

“The security forces started trying to find the killers, and so far, four people have been arrested in this case.

Mr McDowell’s family have been contacted for comment.

Graphic footage from the aftermath of the attack shows bodies lying next to two vans, before men are seen loading bloodied corpses into an ambulance.

Local reports suggested the shooting was most likely carried out by Islamic State militants after a spate of attacks across the war-torn nation.

And eye witnesses suggested foreign tourists were the targets.

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, after being evacuated from Kabul with two Americans.

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

Italian NGO Emergency, which operates a hospital in Kabul, received the injured who it said were from Spain, Lithuania, Norway, Australia and Afghanistan.

WA man Joe McDowell.
Camera IconWA man Joe McDowell. Credit: Joe McDowell/instagram/supplied

“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.

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.

Bamyan is a UNESCO heritage listed area known for two giant Buddhist statues that were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.

The Taliban gained control of Afghanistan after the US withdrew from the country in 2021 following 20 years of counter-insurgency warfare.

Australia does not have formal diplomatic ties with the new government.

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