Afghanistan FAQ & Security Thread
Replies: 153 - Last Post: May 16, 2013 2:17 PM Last Post By: loswiaheros
Feb 13, 2012 8:37 AM
105your review is awesome to say the least. i would like somebody to come in contact with me at email email@example.com regarding afghanistan. i may have to move to kabul & hajigak area on depuation assignment for the proposed iron ore mines project. i know the place but would like to develop certain relationship in advance.
Mar 11, 2012 9:38 AM
106Hey guys, anybody interested to travel into AFGHANISTAN or IRAQ (from North to South, not just Kurdish part) and would like to get impressions what it means travelling in countries like this, have a look to this post.
I have been travelling a lot in my life, trough whole central Asia and many other places, and to almost any places in AFGHANISTAN and IRAQ that is possible to travel at the moment (also quite remote areas, far away from cities, in the „backland“ of the „real countries“).
Places I have been to :
Entering overland from Tajkistan to Kunduz-Baghlan-Kabul-Bamyan-BandeAmir-Yawkawlang-Lawl-chagcharan-Kamenj-Chest i sharif-Herat-Mazer i sharif-Ankoy-Dwaulatabad-Maimana-back to Mazer i sharif-Tashkurgan-Samangan-via Salang Pass back to Kabul-Panshjir Valley-Peshawar (Exit Pakistan)
Trough whole Iraq, where officially no tourism exist at the time, from the middle, to the north to the south, to places, where during the last 30 years almost nobody has been, also no foreigners. From Baghdad to Samarra, Kirkuk, Erbil, Moussil, Nimrud, Assur (ancient capital of Assyrians), Tikrit (birhplace of Saddam Hussein, they have a shrine for Saddam and his family there), Baghdad again, Kerbala, Najaf (where Imam Ali is buried), Babylon, Samawih, Uruk (Town of Gilgamesh), Ur (town of Abraham), Eridu (7000 B.C. oldest civilisation in the world), Nasaryiah, Basra, Amarra, Baghdad. A country that had a big prosperity even under saddam hussein, a rich country, which will make its way, if they learn to life together shia, sunni, christians, kurds and others. Fantastic warm hearted people. Travelling in Iraq means travelling in one of the worlds most untouched countries, and the country with the oldest history on earth!
Do you need some impressions and foto/video galleries or just informations about travelling in this countries ? Feel free to contact me on Lonelyplanet or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1165598526&ref=tn_tnmn
(to see picture and video galleries of the very remote real parts of these countries).
Mar 21, 2012 10:17 AM
107Hi! Happy nowruz!
What about the northern and central route these days? Are these routes open for traffic? Do I need a special permit? Are they safe? I'm also curious for the bus via Kandahar, what is the principle? Is it guarded by the army? Does someone have any recent information?
I'm planning to hitchhike or travel by public transport; bus or shared taxi, I'm western.
I spoke with someone who took the bus via Kandahar a couple of days ago and he indeed confirmed this route is very dangerous. But as the information he shared was very poor I'd rather ask you guys as well!
Thanks a lot!
Mar 22, 2012 5:16 PM
108You're asking whether the northern and central routes are safe, at the same time as proposing to travel to Kandahar. Weird priorities.
Don't attempt to hitchhike. Take buses (but not to Kandahar) and burrow in among other passengers to make yourself inconspicuous, or take cars arranged by your hotel.
Mar 23, 2012 1:36 AM
109Thank you Emmeff!
I ask about Kandahar because the bus to Kabul takes this route and I'm surprised by this fact as I understand it's a dangerous route. Somehow the risk is low enough for locals to go this way, otherwise they won't drive I guess?
As this bus carries many people I assume it actually could be a safe option even though the route is passing trough a dangerous area. An Iranian acquaintance of mine took this bus as well and he is still alive. ;)
It's also the fastest way (apart from flying) and I will be least exposed when I can hide myself in this bus for half a day. The central route might be more safe but takes me more time as well. So in another sense the risk here could be higher.
About hitchhiking, I spoke with people doing hitchhiking in 2007, and they told me it was very possible along the central route. And till now this seems the best option. I understand you warn me for this way of travelling but could you please explain your words a bit?
As I read a lot about Afghanistan I understand there is always an unfortunate risk lurking around. In order to weigh these risks and making a correct choice, recent and proper information is keen. I shouldn't expel any option until the very last moment of departure.
Thanks again! :)
Mar 24, 2012 3:27 AM
110Local people take the Southern Road but generally only if they do not have any incriminating ID (ID that shows they work for the government, police, army or a foreign company). There are occasional illegal checkpoints on this road and vehicles do get stopped and searched. If they stopped and searched you would be found. I was also chatting to local people who took this route last week and they do so because they have to for work or education. It is the only paved road between Kabul and Herat so of course many people use this road.
A German and his translator were killed on the Central route last summer in Ghor province. I am sure you can google this to find an article. I travelled this route in 2008 and a friend did so in 2009. Neither of us would think about going back given the current situtaion between Herat and Chagcharan. It is not the same as when your friend took this road in 2007. That is for sure. Also consider that the roads will be pretty muddy from the snow melt at this time of year.
The Northern route between Maimana and Herat is also very unsafe. Local trucks often go via Turkmenistan due to the security risk and the bad state of the roads.
If you need to get from Herat to Kabul please fly. None of the other options are a good idea.
Have fun and stay safe. JJ
Mar 27, 2012 1:12 AM
111agree to JakJones. It is a too long way down trough the desser. Met several locals who took the road as well, but rather would prefer flying if they would have the money, because it is not safe at all.
Also agree to the situation around Herat (what many people in this LP-forum don't realize, cause some travellers were there around 2007 and then the situation was different, but the situation seems to get worse, also when I was in Herat in August 2011 (from Kabul to Herat overland trough the center via Chagcharan and chest e sharif) the situation was increasingly unstable.
keep travelling, keep open-minded, and the most important, keep healthy and safe.
Mar 29, 2012 12:36 AM
Mar 30, 2012 11:16 AM
113take care, kabul mazar was ok when i made it last year (also there is no guarantee) but i wouldn't take public transport from Kabul to Kunduz via Baghlan, it is unsafe. I made it because it seemed to only way when i was enterring from Tajikistan into Afghanistan, but even the Afghans i as sharing a shared taxi war seriously nervous driving through Baghlan. Arriving at Salang Pass the atmosphere was easy again and everybody was smiling in the car. take care and good travel,
Apr 1, 2012 3:30 AM
1) Would anybody recommend buying the services of guide/safe transport around Kabul for a day or two, or would that attract unwanted attention? The LP guide refers to www.safetripkabul.com, which apparently doesn't exist anymore, and Afghan Logistics & Tours which has a website that doesn't seem very up to date. Does anybody have any experiences to share?
2) Is it "safe" to travel from Khorog to Faizabad for a day trip? Is Faizabad safe in and of itself?
Apr 2, 2012 1:55 AM
115I second that Kunduz and especially the section of road between Pol i Khomri and Kunduz is not the best place to be although travellers occasionally take this road as there is no other option if you need to get to or from Tajikistan. It is dangerous.
1. Having a local guide in Kabul is going to improve your security as they'll stop you doing anything stupid, have up to date security info and be able to understand what other people are saying about you. It is not essential in my opinion but try contacting some of the companies that can arrange guides and see what they say.
2 - For Afghanistan it is OK. Faizabad has seen anti-government/US protests in the wake of the recent Koran burning and caution must be used but it is OK in general.
Apr 2, 2012 6:52 AM
116Thanks. Can you recommend any companies providing such services in Kabul?
Apr 2, 2012 10:12 PM
117If you ask me, the local 'guide part' is not really necessaries. If you plan to stay in Kabul for a couple of days till a week there shouldn't be a problem. At least, in my experience - I'm in Kabul right now -, it's easy to walk around by your self, even in night time I don't feel insecure. There is though a depressing atmosphere and tension. Be open towards the people, be polite and low profile and it should be alright.
For me, I'm now about a week in Kabul and mainly I walk everywhere, and sometimes accompanied by locals, sometimes accompanied by girls. It's nice to be with a local who is able to translate but it also attracts more attention. People might come over and ask how much you pay for your guide etcetera. When you are by your self you look more helpless and my experience is that pretty much everyone, even though they might look very though and angry, likes to help you. Seldom people ask me money for their help.
Kabul is dangerous enough to get shot, killed or kidnapped but after all you're in Afghanistan. You should be cautious but not over cautious.
Disclaimer My words are purely based on my experiences!
Apr 9, 2012 10:01 AM
118I'm thinking of spending a day or two in Ishkashim, across the border from Tajikistan near the wakhan. Does anybody know if this is still a reasonably safe area?
Apr 12, 2012 7:42 AM
119Hela, for the ones who are interested.
Recently I travelled down the Salangpass towards Kunduz by public transport. A friend of mine travelled up and down to Mazar also by bus. We both are still alive, and actually it was quite ok. I got double priced though, you should pay about 500 Af, one way to Kunduz, and about 600 to Mazar.
Because the day before we travelled, there was an attack in Salang the bus was delayed by about 7 hours. Many people warned me about the Kunduz region and travelling at night, including ANSO, but actually it was more than fine. Actually there are some activities in this region but in my case I didn't see anything of it. By the way, in the evening I stayed with locals who I met in the bus. The day after when I was in Kunduz the people were very welcoming and warm. Even when I told them that I'm NOT a Muslim. How ever, in the afternoon I moved on.
Kunduz is fairly all right if you're not sticking around for to long! But be aware that the fighting season is likely to start soon....
@El_benhameen: a journalist told me that the region east of Kunduz is very conservative, so you should be cautious, but in this time of year you can not travel Pamir anyway, as it is still frozen solid.
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