Afghanistan

Afghanistan

Avoid Travel

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is in southern Asia, east of Iran and north and west of Pakistan. The country lies at the crossroads of Central Asia, along the ancient “Silk Route.” Afghanistan’s government is an Islamic presidential republic with a president as chief of state and head of government. The population of about 31 million people represents more than 50 ethnic groups, with over 30 languages spoken.

Afghanistan has been ravaged by war and instability since before Alexander the Great. During the 1800s, the British invaded from India and installed governments that continually failed. From 1933 to 1973, the country enjoyed a period of stability during the reign of King Zahir Shah. This king was overthrown by his brother-in-law who in turn, was ousted by the communist party. Subsequently, a series of assassinations, a coup and a counter-coup prompted the Soviet Union to send troops to support the communist government and help stabilize the country. However, a long and devastating war ensued, followed by civil wars, and the US-led military action to remove the Taliban for sheltering Osama Bin Laden.

Although Afghanistan gained its first democratically elected president in 2004 and has made some progress toward a stable central government, the country faces daunting challenges in restoring security and stability. The years of conflict have taken a huge toll on the economy and the society. Although Afghanistan is very rich in natural resources, it remains one of the poorest nations in the world and is still recovering from years of conflict.

Currency AFN: Afghani
Language Dari (Afghan Persian); Pashto
Capital Kabul
Recent Alerts 9
Latest Alert June 24, 2017 - Safety during Eid al-Fitr in Afghanistan

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Afghanistan. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Afghanistan through contaminated food or water.

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Afghanistan.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in Afghanistan, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in Afghanistan. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals and should be vaccinated. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Cholera

Cholera outbreaks occur in Afghanistan. The risk to travellers is low unless living or working in poor sanitary conditions, drinking untreated water or eating poorly cooked or raw seafood in this country.

Malaria

There is a risk of malaria in areas of Afghanistan below 2,000 meters between May and November. During the rest of the year, there is a low risk. There is low to no risk of malaria in areas above 2,000 meters.

Dengue Fever

Outbreaks of dengue fever may occur.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in Afghanistan. Travellers to Afghanistan are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Polio

Travellers who intend to visit Afghanistan for 4 weeks or more may be required to show proof of polio vaccination given 4 weeks to 12 months before departure from Afghanistan. Failure to produce this documentation may result in vaccination at the point of departure. Childhood vaccinations, including polio, should be up-to-date prior to travel.

Yellow Fever

There is no risk for yellow fever in this country. This country requires all persons to have proof of the yellow fever vaccination if arriving from a country where yellow fever occurs.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Afghanistan.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities or rural areas, where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Polio Vaccine

Travellers who intend to visit Afghanistan for 4 weeks or more may be required to show proof of polio vaccination given 4 weeks to 12 months before departure from Afghanistan. Failure to produce this documentation may result in vaccination at the point of departure. Childhood vaccinations, including polio, should be up-to-date prior to travel.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

Vaccination against yellow fever is not recommended. This country requires all persons to have proof of the yellow fever vaccination if arriving from a country where yellow fever occurs.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Afghanistan.

Anti-malarial Drugs

Recommended anti-malaria medications include atovaquone-proguanil, mefloquine or doxycycline. Resistance to chloroquine has been reported.Recommended anti-malaria medications include atovaquone-proguanil, mefloquine or doxycycline. Resistance to chloroquine has been reported.

Safety and Security in Afghanistan

Emergency Numbers

119
112 Kabul only
020 Kabul only
112 Mobile only; Kabul only

Local operators speak only local language. Emergency services are only available in the major cities. At times, the number may not be answered and response times could be quite long.

Personal Safety

There is a high level of crime in Afghanistan. To minimize the risk of becoming a victim of petty crime, avoid showing signs of wealth. Keep valuables and money out of sight. Do not carry large sums of cash. Safeguard your important documents, such as your passport. Avoid walking alone at night.

Keep your passport with you at all times. In some areas, you can be detained if you cannot show your passport.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious crime with penalties of up to several months in jail.

You can be detained for photographing military installations, government buildings or military personnel.

There is freedom of religion in Afghanistan, however, evangelizing or proselytizing is considered a major crime and can be punishable by death.

Same-sex relations and behaviours are considered major crime and can be punishable by death.

Road travel is extremely dangerous throughout Afghanistan due to terrorist attack, kidnapping and violent crime. If you travel in Afghanistan, get professional security advice. Consider using armoured vehicles and security protection

Roads are poor. Drivers may not follow standard rules of the road.

Areas To Avoid

Due to the lack of safety and security, avoid all travel to the following areas:

Kabul: Avoid all travel to the Surobi, Paghman, Musayhi, Khak-e Jabbar and Chahar Asyab districts of Kabul province.

Avoid all unnecessary travel to the city of Kabul.

Northern Afghanistan: Avoid all travel to Balkh, Kunduz, Badakhshan and the Baghlan-e Jadid District of Baghlan where there is the risk of armed conflict and terrorist attack, including attacks on aid workers.

Avoid all unnecessary travel to Takhar, Faryab, Jawzjan, Samangan, Sari Pul and the remainder of Baghlan.

Southern Afghanistan: Avoid all travel to Helmand, Kandahar, Nimroz, Uruzgan and Zabul where there is general lawlessness.

Eastern Afghanistan: Avoid all travel to Ghazni, Kapisa, Khost, Kunar, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Nuristan, Paktika, Wardak and Paktya where there is the risk of armed conflict, bombings, and general lawlessness.

Avoid all unnecessary travel to Bamiyan, Parwan and Panjshir.

Western Afghanistan: Avoid all all travel to Badghis and Farah, and the Shindand and Gozarah Districts of Herat province where there is the risk of armed conflict, kidnapping, and general lawlessness.

Avoid all unnecessary travel to Dai Kundi, Ghor and remaining districts in Herat.

Extreme Violence

Major terrorist attacks occur frequently throughout Afghanistan, particularly in Kabul and in the eastern and southern provinces. Attacks have become more frequent. Credible terrorist threat reports indicate that venues that could be targeted include shopping and market areas, government and military installations, diplomatic missions, hotels, airports, and any areas frequented by foreigners. The Kabul international airport and the roads leading to it are at risk for attack. Foreigners are at serious risk for kidnapping. Aid workers are also at risk.

If you travel to Afghanistan, it is recommended that you have personal safety and security plans. Have secure plans for transportation and accommodations. Consider hiring professional protection.

Political Unrest

Violent riots and protests have occurred. Due to lack of security and safety, avoid any public gatherings and demonstrations.

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