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Recently I have read a few travel books to get some inspiration for the next long summer journey. I was especially reading Lonely Planet travel guides. I was a little bit surprised that they very often described Afghanistan as a destination. I always thought that there is war. Maybe Lonely Planet isn't as anxious as other travel guides might be, but objectively, what would I have to expect when traveling to Afghanistan? And is it possible at all?

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I'm pretty sure people are travelling the hippie trail again (Europe to India overland) and it's a case of "some parts are very dangerous but not everywhere is dangerous", just like anywhere in the world but amplified a lot! –  hippietrail Nov 14 '11 at 21:21
    
I watered down your question a bit to imply that some bits might have different levels of safety than other bits - hope you don't mind - you can revert it if you disagree. –  hippietrail Nov 14 '11 at 21:25
    
No problem, that's better. –  RoflcoptrException Nov 14 '11 at 21:26

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

In July I was in Tajikistan, along the Afghanistan border. I met a LOT of travellers going there. Indeed, the Central Asia Lonely Planet (English version) has a picture of a temple from within Afghanistan.

It was sooo tempting.

However, due to a slight medical emergency, I had to backtrack from Khorog along the Afghanistan border again to Dushanbe and leave from there. Otherwise I'd totally have gone across for a few days.

The road to Khorog from Dushanbe, Afghanistan across the river on the right

So why are people going? For the Wakhan Corridor - a sliver of land perfect for trekking, and well away from the war-zones. It's considered pretty safe, but again, you'd need to check your insurance as you may not be covered there.

However, anywhere west of Fayzabad and you're starting to get into dangerous territory. Very. One Dutch traveller I met had a police escort at a point and heard explosions. It's still dangerous.

And really, if the Taliban decides to branch out and start kidnapping tourists in the Wakhan Corridor, it may change. It's a very volatile place.

However, if you go to Khorog, there's an Afghanistan embassy on the south side of the river in town, open from 9am. You can get a visa for Afghanistan within 24 hours.

It's important to make sure you have a visa and entry for the Tajikistan side when you return, however, as if you need to get a new visa in Afghanistan, all embassies will be in Kabul. And you don't want to have to travel there if you don't want to.

Of course, it all depends how crazy you are. I also met two Russians who had hitchhiked from Moscow to Tajikstan and were continuing on to Kabul. It's entirely possible, just not guaranteed.

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i wouldn't use this picture to promote travels to Afghanistan, because quite honest, it looks as charming and inviting as an stone quarry or open pit coal mine. Just sayin'... –  iHaveacomputer Nov 15 '11 at 4:15
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Really? To me it was thrilling and 'out there'! I loved it :D –  Mark Mayo Nov 15 '11 at 5:26
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@iHaveacomputer I disagree, it looks tempting –  andra Nov 15 '11 at 13:46
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agree it looks fabulous. –  Rudy Gunawan Nov 15 '11 at 14:38
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enhanced your picture with an appropriate caption: imgur.com/SAcNB :D –  iHaveacomputer Nov 18 '11 at 0:54

Yes, it is possible to travel to Afghanistan.

Not all of Afghanistan is dangerous - there are areas which are relatively safe to visit and a very small number of intrepid travelers pay them visits. There are now even European travel companies which are specializing adventure tours to Afghanistan. Untamed Borders, a UK travel company offers adventure tours to Afghanistan as well as Ski and snowboarding holidays. Check this link about Afghanistan Skiing.

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I notice you posted two links to untamedborders in minutes. Are you affiliated with the site? It's fine if you are, but we do ask that you indicate as such. –  Mark Mayo Sep 25 '12 at 21:18

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