So, I thought I'd share my getting a VISA experience if anyone would find it helpful.
The Afghanistan Embassy in Peshawar, is close to Saddar Road (it has recently moved, post Taliban).
As a US citizen, the VISA cost $30, which seemed to be what other European counties would be charged as well.
You need to drop off the VISA application in the morning (9a-noon) on Tues or Wed, and the process takes 2 days, though the guy was nice and did it 1 day for us. You have to go through a little interview to answer where you plan to stay in Kabul, etc.
You pay the fee at a bank close by, and then come back with a receipt.
Well, I found the staff at the Embassy to be very friendly.
I had to get a reentry VISA to Pakistan in Peshawar as well, as I originally entered on a single entry VISA. This cost $100, but was processed same day (though it seemed they might have had us come back, but we got lucky); it took 1 1/2 hours, and was not as friendly, but more procedural, and a bit amusing.
Definitely stop by the tourist office in Peshawar for help/advise on visiting Afghanistan, as they are very helpful (and you are not obligated to pay for their jeep service, which is a bit pricey)
UPDATE (Feb 2005) I heard from another traveler that the border from Peshawar is now closed to foreigners; he tried crossing 6 months ago. I think he still got a visa there however and snuck across the border. Nuts.
About the single and most important activity in Afghanistan, I believe it's the soccer game held every Friday in Kabul stadium, which used to be the public execution place during Taliban regime. With the arrival of the new administration, however, it has returned to its due function as the public garhtering and sports activities. In 1970s, the stadim was also the first place for all kinds of national celebrations such as millitary inspection, independence celebration. Anyway, you wll feel amazed when you stand in the middle of the stadium, which is equivellent to the middle of Afghan history.
Fondest memory: The friendship between Afghanistan and China apperas just before my eyes, though it sounds far and empty from books. The vast majority of Afghan people with whom I met , no matter high-profile goverment officials or ordinary citizens admires China for its non-involvement in the Afghan politices and the humanitarian assistance from China. One interesting story is that a taxi driver did not accept the trval fare when he knew I am from China, saying that it's the honor and obligation of Afghan people to entertain their good friends. Such true and sincere friendship can hardly be found in other countries.
Walk around the city. Open your mind. Discover the Afghan culture.
Fondest memory: Its people. I don't know why life here is so special. Hard to believe, but is magic.
Favorite thing: PHOTO : Season Mujahidin With Kalashnikov 47. One Of The Best Service Arm, Proofed In V/Nam War By Vietcong. Simple Maintenance, High Fire Power And Accuracy First Class.
Afghan Refugees Stream Home.
Aid Groups, Officials Unprepared for Return of 600,000 Since November.
PHOTO :One Of The Mujahidin *In safe Heaven* From The Group Al Jaamiat-El-Islam With China's Made Rocket Launcher.
PHOTO : Daily Movement Of Mujahidin Troop, Without Anti Personnel Carrier And Support From Top.
Fondest memory: The kindness ,dignity, hospitality, and general character of the people. They were completely without pretensions and had an integrity difficult to find today.
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