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  • Overview

    Afghanistan should conjure up images of dramatic lush green mountains which become snow-capped in winter, sapphire lakes overflowing into tumbling waterfalls, majestic indigenous wild animals such as the elusive snow leopard, and a wealth of ancient historical and religious sites. Instead, tragically, nowadays it evokes images of war-torn cities, dilapidated buildings and a nation grappling to come to terms with a violent political history and uncertain future.

    Afghanistan is an unusual choice of travel destination for travellers, but exploring this old and humble land will certainly enrich the lives of those who visit, few and far between as they may currently be. Although some of its famous cultural sites, like the ancient statues of the Bamiyan Valley, have been damaged or destroyed, there are still fascinating places to explore, including the glorious landscapes of the Band-e-Amir National Park and the Panjshir Mountains north of Kabul. The capital city itself boasts some interesting palaces, mosques and markets.

    Unfortunately, most governments advise against all travel to Afghanistan as the country is currently considered one of the most dangerous in the world and is the site of ongoing war and conflict. No part of Afghanistan is considered safe for travel. Those brave enough to visit should be aware that it is prudent to honour the country's predominantly Muslim beliefs and traditions.

    Afghanistan is a country rich in not only culture, but also breathtaking landscapes that one day will hopefully entice tourists, to the benefit of Afghanistan's people. However, until further notice, it seems most foreign visitors to this country will be aid workers or soldiers.

    Dari Phrase Book

    Dari English Pronounciation
    salaam hello
    shaw ba khayr goodbye
    tashakor thank you
    lutfan please
    kho/ne yes/no
    naame ma my name is
    englisi gap zadan metani do you speak english
    yak, doo, say, char, painch one, two, three, four, five
    s
    Language:

    Pashto and Dari are the official languages of Afghanistan, and the most widely spoken.

    Electricity:

    Electrical current is 220 - 240 volts, 50Hz. Plugs with either two or three round pins are standard.

    Entry Requirements:

    US nationals: Nationals of the USA need a passport that is valid for six months at the time of entry, and a visa.

    UK nationals: British nationals with the designation of British Citizen in their passport need a passport valid on arrival, and a visa. Other passport designations must be valid for six months after the period of intended stay. These require a visa as well.

    CA nationals: Nationals of Canada need a passport valid on arrival, and a visa.

    AU nationals: Nationals of Australia need a passport valid on arrival, and a visa.

    ZA nationals: Nationals of South Africa need a passport valid for six months after the period of intended stay, and a visa.

    IR nationals: Nationals of Ireland need a passport valid for six months after the period of intended stay, and a visa.

    NZ nationals: Nationals of New Zealand need a passport valid on arrival, and a visa.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    Travellers to Afghanistan require a passport that is valid for six months beyond the period of intended stay and proof of return or onward tickets. Tourist and business visas are available and should be applied for in advance. Depending on travel history, a health clearance letter could be required. It's strongly recommended that all visitors register with their embassy, police department or the Afghan Tourist Organisation on arrival. All women should cover their bodies with clothing, except for the face, hands and feet. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

    Travel Health:

    A yellow fever vaccination is required for all travellers arriving from infected areas. Vaccinations are also recommended for hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid. Travellers should be up to date on their vaccinations for polio, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and tetanus-diphtheria, and those spending a good deal of time outdoors and at possible risk of animal bites should also consider a vaccination for rabies.

    Tap water shouldn't be drunk unless it has first been boiled, filtered or chemically disinfected.

    Medical facilities are limited in Afghanistan and medications are often in short supply. Comprehensive travel health insurance is recommended and all essential medications should be taken along.

    Local Customs:

    Afghanistan is an Islamic country and visitors should be respectful of Islamic traditions and laws, particularly during the month of Ramadan. Homosexuality is illegal. Travellers should be careful about what they photograph as it is illegal to take pictures of government buildings, military installations and palaces, and the locals don't always appreciate being photographed either. It is illegal to buy or export historical antiquities without a receipt from an authorised dealer and travellers may be asked for proof of purchase when leaving the country.

    Duty Free:

    Local currency can be imported and exported up to an amount of AFN 500. Each person may import a reasonable amount of tobacco and perfume for personal use. Alcohol is prohibited.

    Afghanistan Embassies:

    Embassy of Afghanistan, Washington: (202) 483 6410

    The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, London: (020) 7225 4743

    Afghanistan Embassy, Ottawa: (613) 563 4223

    Embassy of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Deakin: (61) 26282 7377

    Foreign Embassies in Afghanistan :

    Embassy in United States, Kabul: (93) 70 010 8001

    British Embassy, Kabul: (93) 0 700 102 000

    Embassy of Canada, Kabul: (93) 70 110 8800

    Australian Embassy, Kabul: (61) 2 6261 3305

    New Zealand Embassy, Kabul: (93) 700 102 000

    Afghanistan