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Afghanistan

Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in afghanistan

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Asia : Central Asia : Afghanistan
Flag
Image:af-flag.png
Quick Facts
Areatotal: 647,500 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 647,500 sq km
Population27,755,775 (July 2002 est.)
ReligionSunni Muslim 84%, Shi'a Muslim 15%, other 1%
Government typeIslamic republic
CapitalKabul
Currencyafghani (AFA)

Afghanistan is in Southern Central Asia. It is a landlocked country surrounded by Pakistan to the south and east, China to the northeast, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to the north and Iran to the west.

Years of civil war have left Afghanistan one of the poorest countries in the world.

afghanistan Travel Guide :

Afghanistan

Regions

Map of AfghanistanMap of Afghanistan
Map of Afghanistan
Administrative divisions 
32 provinces (velayat, singular - velayat); BadakhshanBadakhshan, BadghisBadghis, BaghlanBaghlan, Balkh, Bamian, FarahFarah, FaryabFaryab, Ghazni, GhowrGhowr, HelmandHelmand, Herat, JowzjanJowzjan, KabolKabol, Kandahar, KapisaKapisa, KhowstKhowst, KonarKonar, KondozKondoz, LaghmanLaghman, LowgarLowgar, NangarharNangarhar, NimruzNimruz, NurestanNurestan, OruzganOruzgan, PaktiaPaktia, PaktikaPaktika, ParvanParvan, SamanganSamangan, Sar-e PolSar-e Pol, TakharTakhar, VardakVardak, and ZabolZabol
Note

English spellings of Afghan place names vary. For example, Q may replace K as in Qandahar or Qunduz. Konduz will be seen spelt as Qunduz, Qundoz, Qundoze and variations on these. Bamian is often spelt as Bamyian or Bamyan. Khowst may be spelt as Khost.

Afghanistan

Cities

Ports and harbors 
Kheyrabad, Shir Khan
Afghanistan

Other destinations

  • The remains of the Bamian Buddhas. Once considered one of the wonders of the world, these tall stone carving were destroyed, in what some have described as an act of cultural vandalism, by the Taliban.
  • Shamali PlainShamali Plain north of Kabul. Shamali, meaning 'windy' is a green plain which produced a lot of the food for central Afghanistan. From Kabul it extends north through CharikarCharikar, ParwanParwan province to Jabal os SarajJabal os Saraj.
  • Panjshir Valley
  • Salang Pass High mountain pass and tunnel linking Kabul to the north.
  • Mazar-e Sharif See the impressively tiled Blue Mosque and visit nearby Balkh or the Qaila Jangi fortress where Taliban prisoners attempted a breakout.
Afghanistan

Understand

Afghanistan has recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons. While travel to this country has not been advisable for several years, it is a place which has much to offer the intrepid traveller. That said, the intrepid traveller should look elsewhere for thrillseeking at the moment, since stability and safety still do not exist in much of the country.

  • Afghan Scene magazine 1 (http://www.afghanscene.com/)
Afghanistan

Climate

Arid to semiarid; cold winters and hot summers

Afghanistan

Terrain

Mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest. The Hindu Kush mountains that run northeast to southwest divide the northern provinces from the rest of the country; the highest peaks are in the northern Vakhan (Wakhan Corridor). Hindu Kush translates as "killer of Hindus".

Elevation extremes 
lowest point: Amu Darya 258 m
highest point: Nowshak 7,485 m
Afghanistan

History

Afghanistan has a long history of warfare, both among Afghans and against invaders from Alexander of Macedon, to the Mongol hordes, to the British empire. Recent history is no exception.

The Soviet Union invaded in 1979, to support a local socialist government. They were forced to withdraw 10 years later by anti-Communist mujahidin forces supplied and trained by the US, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and others. Fighting subsequently continued among the various mujahidin fractions, giving rise to a state of warlordism.

The Taliban grew out of this chaos, providing a ruthless solution to what was by this time a civil war. Backed by foreign sponsors, and inspired by a conservative sect of Islam, Taliban developed as a political force and eventually seized power. They captured most of the country, aside from ununified warlords in the northeast. The separation was partly along ethnic lines, with Taliban strength primarily in Pushtu areas.

After the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the US, Taliban refused to give up the Al Quaeda people in Afghanistan. The US and allies therefore took military action with the suport of the opposition, causing Taliban's downfall.

In late 2001, major leaders from the Afghan opposition groups and diaspora met in Bonn, Germany and agreed on a plan for the formulation of a new government structure that resulted in the inauguration of Hamid KARZAI as Chairman of the Afghan Interim Authority (AIA) on 22 December 2001. The AIA held a nationwide Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly) in June 2002, and KARZAI was elected President by secret ballot of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan (TISA). The Transitional Authority has an 18-month mandate to hold a nationwide Loya Jirga to adopt a constitution and a 24-month mandate to hold nationwide elections. In December 2002, the TISA marked the one-year anniversary of the fall of the Taliban. In addition to occasionally violent political jockeying and ongoing military action to root out remaining terrorists and Taliban elements, the country suffers from enormous poverty, a crumbling infrastructure, and widespread land mines.

Afghanistan

Communications

Fixed line service in major cities (digital in Kabul) and mobile phones in most cities (2 networks). The AWCC network is very unreliable.

Afghanistan

Electricity

Officially 220V 50Hz. Electricity supplies are erratic but improving in major cities. Voltage can drop to below 150V 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, the newer British standard BS-1363 and the European standard CEE-7/7 "Schukostecker" or "Schuko". There is no single recognized standard. Hence, you may encounter any or all of these outlet types there. Generally speaking, U.S. and Canadian travelers should pack adapters for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan

Get in

Afghanistan

By plane

The national carrier Ariana (http://www.flyariana.com/) is flying again, now with a small fleet of Airbuses and Boeings (plus one Antonov for old times' sake). They have daily flights from Dubai. A far better option is the independent operator Kam Air (http://flykamair.com/) which also has daily flights from Dubai. Ariana is particularly bad at keeping to schedules. Flights can be cancelled or times changed without notice. An alternative route in may be via BakuBaku, Azerbaijan using Azerbaijan Airlines.

The main airport in Kabul is open but is in poor condition. Expect long delays at immigration and baggage reclaim. A new terminal may be built by the Japanese.

Afghanistan

By car

Possible from Peshawar, Pakistan via Khyber Pass, from Quetta, Pakistan to Kandahar (very dangerous), from Mashad, Iran to Herat and from Uzbekistan to Mazar-e Sharif. Travelling any of these routes should not be considered safe or secure.

Afghanistan

By bus

Buses run regularly between Herat and Mashad, Iran. Afghani buses are pulled apart by Iranian border police for drugs so expect long delays.

Afghanistan

Get around

  • Afghan Logistics Tours 2 (http://www.afghanlogisticstours.com/) is one of the first and biggest travel companies in Afghanistan, with a South East Asia branch office in Singapore.
Afghanistan

By plane

Planes fly between Kabul and the major cities (mainly Herat and Mazar-i Sharif) every day but flights maybe delayed on weather and runway conditions.

Afghanistan

By car

There is a growing network of public transportation between the country's cities. Buses ply some routes and Toyota vehicles have a near monopoly on minivan (HiAce) and taxi (Corolla) transportation.

Jeeps and Land Cruisers are available for hire along with drivers who speak some English. There are tour operators in Kabul that will provide a car and a guide. Links to some of these companies are at the bottom of the page.

Afghanistan

Talk

Languages 
Afghan Persian (Dari, the historical lingua franca) 50%, Pashto 35%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, most people speak more than one language.

Pashto is extremely helpful in the southern part of the country. However, you are most likely to encounter no problems if you are fluent in Persian or Afghan Dari. English is now understood by a large part of the population in the urban centers.

Afghanistan

Drink

Being an Islamic country, alcohol consumption is illegal. It is however tolerated, for non-Afghans, in western restaurants in Kabul.

Afghanistan

Sleep

Hotel and other accommodation is generally very basic and falls well below international standards. However, two new 5 star hotels are now open in Kabul.

Afghanistan

Learn

Afghanistan

Work

buses

Afghanistan

Stay safe

Afghanistan is still not a country for tourism. If you don't have very important reasons to go there, stay away from the country.

Afghanistan

Stay healthy

Afghanistan is one of the least healthy countries on the planet. Respiratory diseases and food related illness are common. Malaria is a risk in many parts of the country.

Afghanistan

Respect

Afghanistan

Contact



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