Lake Band-e-Amir, Afghanistan
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Lake Band-e-Amir, Afghanistan

© Creative Commons / Carl Montgomery

Afghanistan Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

652,225 sq km (251,773 sq miles).

Population

31.1 million (2013).

Population density

48 per sq km.

Capital

Kabul.

Government

Republic.

Head of state

President Ashraf Ghani since 2014.

Head of government

President Ashraf Ghani since 2014.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Supplies may be seriously affected and powercuts frequent.

Once an essential part of the hippy trail, friendly, beautiful Afghanistan has sadly been destroyed by years of war and neglect. Home to plentiful countryside and the rugged Hindu Kush mountain range, travellers came for the clear mountain air and to see attractions like the giant Buddha statues of Bamiyan. However, the statues and many other monuments were destroyed under the catastrophic reign of the Taliban, a party of Islamic militants.

After 9/11, Afghanistan was accused of harbouring Osama Bin Laden and faced a heavy bombardment from the US which destroyed much of the country's infrastructure. With thousands of peace-keeping troops still occupying Kabul and pockets of fighting continuing in the south, it seems it will be some time before Afghanistan is restored to its former glory. Travellers are strongly advised against all travel to Afghanistan, as the threat from terrorist or criminal violence is extremely high. There is also widespread danger from mines throughout the country.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 19 December 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all or all but essential travel to different parts of the country according to provincial region:

Kabul

  • the FCO advise against all travel to the Surobi, Paghman, Musayhi, Khak-e Jabbar and Chahar Asyab Districts of Kabul province

  • the FCO advise against all but essential travel to the city of Kabul

Northern Afghanistan

  • the FCO advise against all travel to Balkh, Kunduz, Badakhshan and the Baghlan-e Jadid District of Baghlan

  • the FCO advise against all but essential travel to Takhar, Faryab, Jawzjan, Samangan, Sari Pul and the remainder of Baghlan

Eastern Afghanistan

  • the FCO advise against all travel to Ghazni, Kapisa, Khost, Kunar, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Nuristan, Paktika, Wardak and Paktya

  • the FCO advise against all but essential travel to Bamiyan, Parwan and Panjshir

Southern Afghanistan

  • the FCO advise against all travel to Helmand, Kandahar, Nimroz, Uruzgan and Zabul

Western Afghanistan

  • the FCO advise against all travel to Badghis and Farah, and the Shindand and Gozarah Districts of Herat province

  • the FCO advise against all but essential travel to Dai Kundi, Ghor and remaining districts in Herat

There is a high threat from terrorism and specific methods of attack are evolving and increasing in sophistication. There is a high threat of kidnapping throughout the country.

2014 has seen an increase in the number of attacks in Kabul. While the majority of the attacks have been against Afghan National Security Forces and ISAF, insurgents have stepped up their attacks against western civilian targets. These include:

29 November 2014 – insurgents attacked the compound of the Partners in Academic Development, an NGO, killing 3 foreign nationals.

27 November 2014 – insurgents attacked a British Embassy vehicle, killing a British national and a local national. A guest house was also attacked in the Wazir Akbar Khan area, resulting in the death of a foreign national.

19 November 2014 – a suicide attack on Green Village resulted in the death of a foreign national and injured a further 2 people.

13 October 2014 – an attack on NATO contractors near Jalalabad Road in Kabul. There were no fatalities.

22 July 2014 – an insurgent attack on Camp Gibson killed 7 foreign nationals

24 Apr 2014 – 3 foreign nationals were killed during shooting incident at the CURE hospital.

20 March 2014 – an attack on the Serena hotel in Kabul resulted in 4 foreign nationals being killed, along with 6 local nationals.

11 March 2014 – a foreign national was killed in motorcycle attack in the Wazir Akbar Khan area.

17 January 2014 – an attack on La Taverna Restaurant in the Wazir Akhbar Khan area resulted in the death of 13 foreign nationals.

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