Stay safe & healthy

Stay safe & healthy

Stay safe

Travel WarningWARNING: No part of Afghanistan should be considered immune to violence and there is potential throughout the country for direct or random hostility at any time. The remains of the former Taliban regime and the Al Qaeda terrorist network, as well as other groups opposed to the military operations of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), remain active. The Afghan authorities are only partially able to maintain order and ensure the safety of Afghan citizens and foreign visitors. Travel in all areas of Afghanistan is unsafe for military combat, land mines, bandits, armed rivalries between political and tribal groups and the possibility of insurgent attacks, including attacks on vehicles or other improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The security situation is volatile and unpredictable across the country, with some areas with high levels of violence, especially in the southeast.

Afghanistan is a volatile and downright dangerous country in the southern and eastern areas. The non-essential journey is strongly discouraged. Banditry is an ancient tradition in many parts of the country, even in the northern areas. Taliban insurgents have declared the kidnapping of foreigners one of the main targets. In July 2007, 23 Koreans were abducted from a public bus in Ghazni province, south of Kabul. Two of them were killed, with the rest released a few weeks later, after controversial negotiations with the Korean government.

The northern part of the country is considered safer than the south and east; However, occasional incidents may still occur and an apparently safe location may immediately turn the other way around. Several German media reporters were killed in northern Afghanistan, probably by criminals or anti-Westerners. In August 2010, 10 doctors (8 foreigners and 2 translators) were murdered.

Landmines and other UXOs (failures) continue to be a problem throughout the country, so plan to stay on well-trodden paths, avoid red-and-white stones, and do not touch or move suspicious-looking objects. According to the Afghan Red Crescent, about 600 to 700 people are injured or killed each year in landmine and UXO accidents. This is greatly reduced from over 1,600 in 2002. While traveling in Afghanistan, you will probably see demining organizations at work.

You also need to pay attention to insects and snakes, and the mountainous land has many vicious creatures like scorpions, spiders, centipedes, bees, etc.

In some areas, altitude risk is a significant risk.

Homosexual activities among consenting adults are punishable by Afghan law with a series of severe punishments, including death. LGBT travelers should have great discretion.

However, if you decide to travel in Afghanistan after weighing the risks, you can reduce the risk by booking an armed escort or traveling with an experienced tour guide. You should also contact your embassy and be aware of what you can and can not do for you in an emergency.

Stay healthy

Afghanistan has a fair share of health problems, and it would be wise to consult a travel physician about vaccines and health risks before traveling. Respiratory diseases like tuberculosis and foodborne diseases are common and malaria is a risk in many parts of the country.

Afghanistan is one of the most perverse countries in the world and you should be prepared to absorb it and breathe for most of your stay, even in the big cities. Dirt from diesel engines can also make life uncomfortable.

Flies are notoriously horrible, probably due to poor sanitary facilities. Winter brings relief, but when spring comes, they return to their full potential.

Food should be seen with a critical eye as there is often a lack of hygiene rules. Hot and freshly prepared food is usually safer. Bottled water is also recommended unless you have your own cleaning system.

Bring any prescription medicine from your home country and do not expect to find it on the spot. You may also consider taking analgesics and antidiarrheal drugs because they are hard to find outside the big cities.

As in most parts of Asia, squats are the norm, with optional and sometimes scarce toilet paper. The western bathrooms are occasionally seen in new buildings and in some private houses.

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Afghanistan - Travel guide