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Taliban Attack Foreigners in Afghanistan's Western Herat Province


FILE - Afghan police soldiers inspect the site of a bomb attack, in Herat, Afghanistan, Saturday, July 30, 2016.

The Taliban Thursday claimed responsibility for ambushing a group of U.S. and European tourists in Afghanistan’s western Herat province, wounding six of the tourists and their Afghan driver.

A spokesman for the insurgency said Taliban fighters targeted what he called a "joint enemy convoy" and gave a much higher casualty toll, although the group is known for releasing inflated totals.

A provincial police spokesman, Jilani Farhad, told VOA that the attack took place in the Chishti Sharif area shortly after the tourists arrived from the central Bamiyan province.

“The wounded are in stable condition and a woman is also among them,” he added, without discussing the nationalities of the victims or motives for the attack. Reports, however, say the tourists included eight Britons, three Americans and a German.

Herat borders Iran and Taliban insurgents there are active in several districts.

Meanwhile, a Pakistani transport helicopter has crash landed in the mountainous Afghan province of Logar.

Local officials and witnesses said the Russian-made MI-17 helicopter caught fire shortly after it touched the ground. They added that a group of armed men then approached the site and took six people to an unknown location.

Pakistani officials have confirmed that the helicopter made an emergency landing on the Afghan side of the border after taking off from the northwestern city of Peshawar.

A security official requesting anonymity told VOA that five Pakistani crew members and a “Russian navigator” were on board the aircraft that belonged to the provincial government of Punjab. The helicopter was traveling to the central Asian republic of Uzbekistan for routine repair work, he said.

The accident happened in the Mati area of Azra district that Afghan officials said was under Taliban control. The insurgent group has not yet commented on reports it took those on board hostage.