Afghan police say gunmen kill German tourist

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 24, 2011 12:34 PM
Afghan police say gunmen kill German tourist

HERAT, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Unknown gunmen killed a German tourist and his Afghan companion in central Afghanistan on Saturday and wounded two other Afghans when they opened fire on the van the tourist was traveling in, a senior police officer said.

The men were on a road in poor, remote Ghor province, driving toward Bamiyan province which is more often visited, deputy provincial police chief Abdul Rashid Bashir told Reuters.

Bashir said the dead man was a tourist, and documents found in his possession showed that he was German. The German embassy in Kabul could not immediately be reached for comment.

Two German nationals were killed last month while hiking in mountains near the capital Kabul. Their killers have not been found.

Ghor is still relatively peaceful, even though it shares a border with Helmand province, an insurgent stronghold. But it is a risky place for foreigners to visit as tourists.

Abdul Hai Khatibi, a spokesman for the provincial governor, declined direct comment on the killing, but said the Taliban had limited influence in Ghor and appeared to suggest that the shooting was likely to be the work of bandits, not insurgents.

"Rivalry between armed groups has damaged the security situation in Ghor and encourages insurgents to claim credit for any attack," he said.

Violence has risen to its worst levels in Afghanistan since the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban government, with record numbers of civilian deaths.

The insurgency is also spreading fast to once relatively peaceful northern and western parts of the country, in addition to the south and east.

Germany has around 5,200 soldiers deployed as part of NATO's mission in Afghanistan, most of them in the north.

(Reporting by Sharafuddin Sharafyar; Editing by Tim Pearce)