Scot in tourist convoy ambushed by the Taliban
A Scot is understood to be among a number of Britons who were in a convoy of tourists attacked by militants in a remote area of Afghanistan.
Local officials said 12 foreign travellers were being escorted by the Afghan army when they were ambushed on their way to the city of Herat in the west of the country.
Speaking to the BBC, Jailani Farhad, spokesman for Herat’s governor, said the tourists included eight Britons, three US citizens and one German.
Local reports had suggested the Britons included two Scots, but neither the Foreign Office or the Scottish Government were able to confirm.
The identity of those behind the attack is unknown, but the Taleban has claimed responsibility.
TV footage showed the party’s minibus, gutted by fire and still on flames following the attack.
Zardasht Shams, Afghanistan’s deputy tourism minister, tweeted: “Western tourists are safe in Herat. However, they didn’t co-ordinate travel with our ministry. We call on all tourists to co-ordinate with us.”
He said some of those involved had suffered minor injuries and would be moved to Kabul.
Journalists with knowledge of Afghanistan said the tour party had been foolish to take the route it had.
The country’s roads are fraught with dangers, with militant attacks and kidnappings commonplace. Despite that, Afghanistan welcomes a small number of tourists every year, who are drawn to ancient cultural sites.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We are providing assistance to British nationals involved in the attack in Herat and are co-ordinating closely with local authorities.”
The attack took place in the Chesht-e-Sharif district on the road to Herat.
Afghan officials said extra security personnel had been sent to the area. Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told Afghanistan’s Tolo news channel that the tourists had been on their way from Bamiyan to Herat, via Ghor at the time of the attack.
The Foreign Office has advised against “all but essential travel” in the region.