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From Halal Food & Travel

Afghanistan is a landlocked and mountainous country in the heart of Asia, bordered by Pakistan to the south and east, Iran to the West, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to the north. There is a short border with China to the far northeast, but in extremely inaccessible terrain. The country has great many valleys. Afghanistan has been the center of many powerful empires for the past 2,000 years, however in the last 30 years the country has been in chaos due to major wars—from the Soviet invasion of 1979 to their withdrawal in 1989 and from warlordism to the removal of the Taliban in 2001 and the ensuing US/NATO invasion. Economically, Afghanistan is considered poor compared to many other nations of the world. The country is going through a nationwide rebuilding process.

An Introduction to the Region of Afghanistan

 ; Note English spellings of Afghan place names vary. For example, Q may replace K as in Qandahar or Qunduz. Kunduz will be seen spelled as Konduz, Qunduz, Qundoz, Qundoze and variations on these. Bamiyan is often spelled as Bamian or Bamyan. Khowst may be spelt as Khost. Reference ##715D5C West Afghanistan Reference ##AC9393 East Afghanistan Reference ##827A78 Northwest Afghanistan Reference ##766A60 Northeast Afghanistan Reference ##655C5A South Afghanistan


Other Muslim friendly Cities in Afghanistan

  • Kabul - in the east, the capital city
  • Bamiyan - The remains of the Buddhas. Once considered one of the wonders of the world, these tall stone carvings were destroyed by the Taliban in a notorious act of cultural vandalism.
  • Ghazni - in the south-east, between Kabul and Kandahar
  • Herat - in the west, gateway to Iran, has a strong Persian influence and several interesting historical sites
  • Jalalabad - in the east, between Kabul and the Khyber Pass
  • Kandahar - a Taliban-influenced southern city, not safe for travel at this time
  • Kunduz - A major city in the northeast and crossing point to Tajikistan
  • Mazar-e Sharif - home to the impressively tiled Blue Mosque and the staging point for trips into Uzbekistan
  • Bagram - the site of a major US military base.

    Other Muslim Friendly Destinations in Afghanistan

  • Balkh — Once one of the greatest cities in the region and capital of ancient Bactria. Although much of it lies in ruins, the remaining architectural and cultural elements remain little changed since Alexander the Great set foot there.
  • Band-e Amir National Park — 5 stunningly turquoise lakes in a remote and beautiful setting, not far from Bamiyan.
  • The Khyber Pass is the gateway to India, historic route of invasion and trade.
  • The Minaret of Jam is well off the beaten path but some say worth the journey — possible as a roundtrip from Herat or when traversing the Central Route from Herat to Kabul.
  • Panjshir Valley — a beautiful trekking area, leading to the famous Anjuman Pass.
  • The Salang Pass is a high mountain pass and tunnel linking Kabul to the north.
  • Shamali Plain north of Kabul. Shamali, meaning "windy" or "northern", is a green plain which produced a lot of the food for central Afghanistan. From Kabul it extends north through Charikar, Parwan province to Jabal os Saraj. The Taliban destroyed the irrigation systems and it is only just beginning to recover.
  • Gardez — a beautiful major town in a mountain valley southeast of Kabul.
  • Wakhan National Park, one of Afghanistan's most isolated areas with soaring mountains and unique cultures, is the country's second national park.


View of Herat from a hill in 2009 Band-e Amir National Park in Bamyan province Afghanistan has been in the news since the late 1970s for all the wrong reasons. While visiting has not been advisable for several years, it has much to offer the intrepid traveller. But even the more adventurous should consider looking elsewhere for thrill-seeking.

Weather in Afghanistan

Temperatures in the central highlands are below freezing for most of the winter and snow is common at higher elevations. Summertime highs in lower elevations (such as Jalalabad or Mazar-e Sharif) can exceed 50°C/120°F. In higher areas such as Kabul, summer temperatures can be 30°C/90°F and winter around 0°C/30°F. The most friendly weather in Kabul is during April, May and September ===Terrain=== Mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest. The Hindu Kush mountains run northeast to southwest, dividing the northern provinces from the rest of the country, with the highest peaks found in the northern Wakhan Corridor. South of Kandahar is desert. The lowest point is Amu Darya at 258 m and the highest is Nowshak at 7,485 m === The People of Afghanistan === Afghanistan is an ethnically diverse country. Tribal and local allegiances are strong, which complicates national politics immensely. The largest ethnic group is the Pashtun, followed by Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek and others. 2011 Afghan Youth Voices Festival at Babur Gardens in Kabul Baloch tribesmen, still largely nomadic, can be found anywhere between Quetta in Pakistan and Mashad in Iran, including much of western Afghanistan. They make marvellous rugs, if somewhat simple. Hazaras in the central mountains look much more Asiatic than other Afghans. According to some theories, they are descended from Genghis Khan's soldiers. The two largest linguistic groups speak Pashto and Dari (Afghan Persian). Pashto speakers predominate in the south and east, Dari in the north, west and central Afghanistan. About 11% of the population have Turkic languages, Uzbek. or Turkmen, as their first language. Many of them are in the north, near Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Minor native language groups include Nuristanis, Pashais and Pamiris, found in small pockets in the east and northeast. There are also thousands of Hindus and Sikhs living in different cities but mostly in Kabul, Jalalabad and Kandahar.

History of Afghanistan

The main mosque in Kandahar, adjacent to which is the mausoleum of Ahmad Shah Durrani and the site of the Prophet Muhammad's Cloak Afghanistan has been settled for thousands of years. The modern-day country was founded when Mir Wais Hotak rose up against the Persians in 1709 and established the Hotaki dynasty, with its capital at Kandahar. It later included what is now Iran and Iraq but the Hotaki dynasty collapsed in 1738. In 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani re-established Afghanistan and expanded it to include much of Pakistan as well as northeastern Iran and the Western parts India. The country has a long history of warfare, mostly against invaders such as Darius I, Alexander of Macedon, Persians, Arabs, Turks, Mongols and the British. Its recent history is no exception. {{infobox|The Afghan Girl|The June 1985 cover of National Geographic showed the most haunting image of the Afghan War: a young Afghan girl, with piercing sea-green eyes and a dilapidated hijab. The photo, taken by Steve McCurry in Pakistan in 1984, became the icon of the troubles in Afghanistan. But, for 17 years, no one knew the girl's name. Then in 2002, following the defeat of the Taliban, National Geographic finally located the girl and her identity: Sharbat Gula. She vividly recalled being photographed and recognized her face as the one in the photo. Today, in her honour, NG now runs a fund to educate young Afghan girls, who were denied education under the Taliban. In 1919, Afghanistan established independence as an emirate until a kingdom was proclaimed by Amanullah Khan. As king, he attempted to modernise the country through Western designs. In 1933, Mohammed Zahir Shah succeeded to the throne and ruled the country until 1973, when the constitutional monarchy was overthrown in a coup and the country became a republic. After the April 1978 revolution and successful coup by pro-Communist forces, the Soviet Union invaded in December 1979 to support the new socialist regime. War ensued. By February 1989 all Soviet forces withdrew from the country but fighting continued between Soviet-backed Afghan government forces and mujahideen rebels, who were funded by the United States, Saudi Arabia and others while trained by Pakistan and Iran. The Taliban grew out of this chaos in late 1994, providing a solution to what was by this time a civil war. Backed by foreign sponsors and inspired by a conservative sect of Islam, the Taliban developed as a political force to end the civil war and bring security to the country. They seized the capital of Kabul in late 1996 and controlled most of the country by 2000, aside from some areas in the northeast. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, the Taliban refused to hand over Osama bin Laden or other al-Qaeda militants to the United States, though they did offer to try Osama in their own shariah court if the US government shared "solid evidence" of his alleged guilt with them and also expressed willingness in principle to consider extraditing Osama to a neutral country for a trial before a shariah court there if such an action would stave off US-led invasion. The US refused to share whatever evidence they had with the Taliban and considered the Taliban's offers insufficient, so they and their allies chose to take military action with support from anti-Taliban Afghans — mainly Kazakhs and Kirghiz from the north of the country who fought in the Northern Alliance — causing the Taliban's regime to fall in December 2001. The same month, representatives from all ethnic groups of Afghanistan met in Germany and agreed to form a new government with Hamid Karzai as Chairman of the Afghan Interim Authority. Following a nationwide election in 2004, Hamid Karzai was elected as President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. A year later, in 2005, legislative elections were held and the country's parliament began functioning again. In addition to occasionally violent political jockeying and ongoing military action to root out anti-government elements, the country suffers from widespread election fraud, poverty, corruption and opium cultivation. In 2005, Afghanistan and the US signed a strategic partnership agreement committing both nations to a long-term relationship. In 2012, Afghanistan and the US signed another more important strategic partnership agreement. It also signed strategic partnership agreements with India, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and many other nations. In the mean time, around US$50 billion is being spent on the reconstruction of the country.


Officially 220 V 50 Hz. Electricity supplies are erratic, but slowly improving in major cities. Voltage can drop to below 150 V in some places. The Afghans' enthusiasm for homemade generators or modifying low quality ones means that the frequency and voltage can also vary wildly. There are three types of electrical outlets likely to be found in Afghanistan. They are the old British standard BS-546 and the newer British standard BS 1363. But the GCC standard CEE-7/7 "Schukostecker" or "Schuko" is the standard and obviously most common. Generally speaking, U.S. and Canadian travellers should pack adapters for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment in Afghanistan. You may also find affordable universal adapters in the local markets


  • Afghan Scene Magazine
  • A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby – a hilarious account of pioneer trekking in Nuristan in the 1950s
  • The Places in Between by Rory Stewart – a fascinating post 9/11 travelogue of Stewart's walk from Herat to Kabul just after the fall of the Taliban.
  • The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini – a beautiful and heartbreaking tale of childhood in Afghanistan
  • Good Morning Afghanistan by Waseem Mahmood - a true account of the setting up of the first public radio station in Kabul after the Taliban fell. *An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan by Jason Elliot—a true travelogue from the period between the expulsion of the Soviets and the ascension of the Taliban. He went everywhere. *For a Pagan Song by Jonny Bealby - a brilliant account of the author's journey to retrace the footsteps of Rudyard Kipling's heroes in The Man Who Would Be King to discover the land of Kafiristan and the people who inhabit the region.

Travel to Afghanistan

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

Travel by plane to Afghanistan

US and Afghan officials at Kabul International Airport Kabul International Airport (IATA Code: KBL) in Kabul is the main entry point to the country. In late 2008, the barely functioning old terminal was refurbished and is now being used for domestic flights, while the brand new Japanese-constructed terminal is up and running and fielding international flights. The national carrier, Ariana Afghan Airlines, is flying with a small fleet of about 14 Airbuses and Boeings (plus Antonovs). They have daily flights from Dubai and periodic flights from Frankfurt, Islamabad, Delhi, Istanbul, Baku and Tehran. Ariana is particularly bad at keeping to schedules — flights can be cancelled or delayed without notice. A better option is the independent operator Kam Air, which has twice daily flights from Dubai, twice weekly flights from Delhi and weekly flights from Almaty, Istanbul and Mashad. Some of the flights on the Dubai to Kabul route stop in Herat if you'd prefer to enter the country there. Safi Air also provides flights between Dubai and Kabul. They are the only safety-accredited airline in Afghanistan. Safi is the only Afghan airline allowed to fly into Europe and has direct flights to Frankfurt. The service is good and planes are sound. Staff are professional. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flies four times per week from Islamabad and once per week from Peshawar to Kabul. Another route in may be via through Tehran or Mashad in Iran. Iran Air has periodic flights from Tehran to Kabul. Air India operates six flights a week from Delhi to Kabul. Turkish Airlines also began flights between Kabul and Istanbul in 2011. Air Arabia used to fly four times per week from Sharjah — however, they have suspended operations. Flights to other cities such as Mazar-e Sharif may be available if you can hook up with the charter company PACTEC; however, seating is very limited ===Travel by car to Afghanistan=== Copyright 2015 - 2023. All Rights reserved by eHalal Group Co., Ltd.