WARNING: No part of Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence, and the potential exists throughout the country for hostile acts, either targeted or random, against U.S. and other Western nationals at any time. Remnants of the former Taliban regime and the al-Qa'ida terrorist network, as well as other groups hostile to International Security Assistance Force ISAF military operations, remain active. Afghan authorities have a limited ability to maintain order and ensure the security of Afghan citizens and foreign visitors. Travel in all areas of Afghanistan is unsafe due to military combat operations, landmines, banditry, armed rivalry between political and tribal groups, and the possibility of insurgent attacks, including attacks using vehicle-borne or other improvised explosive devices IEDs. The security situation remains volatile and unpredictable throughout the country, with some areas, especially in the southeast, experiencing substantially increased levels of violence.

Afghanistan is a volatile country, and downright dangerous in the southern and eastern areas -- non-essential travel is strongly discouraged. The Taliban has now declared abduction of foreigners to be one of its primary goals. In July 2007, twenty-three Koreans were kidnapped from a public bus in Ghazni province, south of Kabul. Two of them were murdered while the rest were set free several weeks later after controversial negotiations with the Korean government.

The northern part of the country is considered to be safer than the south and east; however, occasional incidents can still occur anywhere and a seemingly safe place can become the opposite in an instant. Several German media reporters were killed in the northern parts of Afghanistan, most likely by criminals or anti-westerners. 10 doctors 8 foreigners and 2 translators were murdered in August 2010.

Landmines and other UXO Unexploded Ordnance remain a problem across the country, so plan to stick to well-worn paths, avoid red and white painted rocks, and do not touch or move any suspicious-looking item. According to the Afghan Red Crescent Society, approximately 600-700 people are injured or killed every year in accidents due to landmines and UXO. This is greatly reduced from over 1,600 in 2002. While travelling in Afghanistan you are likely to see mine clearance organisations at work.

Insects and Snakes are also something to be careful of, as the mountainous country has many vicious tiny creatures such as scorpions, spiders, snakes, etc.

In some areas, altitude sickness is a significant risk.

If, after considering the risks, you still choose to travel in Afghanistan, hiring an armed escort or travelling with an experienced guide are ways to decrease the risks. You should also check with your embassy, and be clear on what they can and cannot do for you in an emergency.

See also: War zone safety

Afghanistan has its fair share of health issues, and it would be wise to consult a travel doctor ahead of your trip about vaccinations and health risks. Respiratory diseases such as tuberculosis and food-related illness are common, and malaria is a risk in many parts of the country.

Afghanistan is one of the dustiest countries in the world, and you should be prepared to be covered in it and breathing it for most of your stay, even in the major cities. Pollution from diesel engines can also make life unpleasant.

Flies are notoriously heinous here, likely due to poor sanitation. Winter brings some relief, but they come back full-strength when spring arrives.

Food should be approached with a discerning eye, as hygiene standards can often be lacking. Hot, freshly cooked food is generally safer. Bottled water is also advised, unless you have your own purification system.

Bring any prescription medicine you may need from your home country, and don't count on being able to find it locally. You may also consider carrying pain relievers and anti-diarrheals, as they'll be hard to find outside of major cities.

As in most parts of Asia, squat toilets are the norm, with toilet paper optional and sometimes scarce. Western-style toilets are seen occasionally in newer buildings and some private homes.

Most visitors need to apply for a visa in advance, and are often easier to obtain than you might expect. See the Afghanistan Foreign Ministry's visa webpage (

satellite phones

( is the most reliable.


Women in all parts of Afghanistan wear the burqa or chadori. On the other hand, many women in Kabul and Herat these days don't wear the burqa but rather put on the middle eastern style hijab, which is similar to Iranian fashion. Burqa or chadori are also rather uncommon in the Wakhan valley, which borders with Tajikistan. Western women are highly encouraged to wear a head scarf especially outside Kabul.

[myth] Showing the bottom of the foot is considered rude [/myth].

The farther south you go the more conservative the people are.


Fixed line service is available in major cities digital in Kabul and mobile phones in most cities. SIM cards are available and international calls to Europe/US typically cost less than $0.5/minute. Outside of major cities your options are limited to a satellite phone.

Mobile phones

mobile phones

( +93 0 79 997 1333. the most reliable service with the widest coverage. sms is possible to most countries. sim cards cost $5, local calls are 5af/minute 10 cents/min.

mobile phones
Afghan Wireless

(http://www.afghan-wireles...) privately owned with 20% ownership by the government. awcc has the only communications ring around the country offering high speed mobile and data services through out all provinces. awcc also offers the highest speed fiber based connections to the out side world, with roaming to over 300 other operators in 120 countries. services include voice, fax, gprs and edge data services along with wimax and dedicated high speed internet service with 45mb links to nyc and 45mb links to paris. sim cards cost $1, local calls are 4.99af/minute billing in seconds.

mobile phones

( +93 0 77 222 2777. the cheapest cell service, offers the least coverage. sim cards cost $3, local calls are 5.5af/minute.

mobile phones

( +93 0 78 688 8888. a large network provider from the uae, is the latest gsm network in afghanistan. it became the first company to begin 3g services in early 2012.