Another member stated do not bring alcohol into Afghanistan or it will be confiscated. I do not know where that information came from as you are allowed to take in two x one liter bottles of spirit IE vodka, whiskey whatever. You can carry it in using the normal duty free bag quite openly, customs will look and it does not get confiscated and there is no problem.
There are now numerous bars in Kabul and there is no issue in going to them however do not go walking around the streets at night, go with your security, they can drop you off and pick you up at a set time, no issue. Weapons are not allowed inside any of the bars and you are usually searched at the entrance.
Favorite thing: Afghanistan is a Moslem country. Do not bring alcohol into the country even though they come from a duty-free shop in the airport you've been to before coming to Kabul. Afghan Customs Officer will not only confiscate them but be ready for consequences. Please don't say nobody warned you.
Favorite thing: There are some Internet cafes in Kabul but I discourage you from going to one. A suicide bomber blew himself up in one of those cafes a few years ago in Kabul. Afghans are not used yet to seeing tourists in Internet cafes. I recommend that you check out your Guesthouse first before settling down. A good guesthouse should be able to provide Internet connection.
Favorite thing: You may need to ask an Afghan for a favour to secure a SIM card for you. They do not cost much. There are 3 famous telephone companies at the moment: AWCC, Areeba and Roshan. Believe me, you will not hear the same answer when you ask people which one is the best (cost, connection/reception). You won't have any problem in topping up your credit. Phone cards are sold almost in every corner at AFA 250, AFA 500, etc.
One of the places we shot at was this school- for both boys and girls. An enthusiastic bunch of children and teachers...
It was a very welcome sight to see kids here, rather than the kids whose faces we saw on the streets everyday...
The prices in Kabul are skyrocketing. From rent to goods and services. Everything is available but at a price. The value of the local currency - the afghani- is almost the same as is the Indian rupee vs the dollar. And children on the streets will often come up and ask for dollars.
There has been criticism of the aid received - which is being termed ineffective and the buzzword in the finance ministry circles is `aid effectiveness'. One example of this which was quoted is that it may be much cheaper to bring in an engineer from India to work on a certain project as against going in for a high cost option from the west.
Among the most noticable changes in Kabul- visually at least- is the new buildings and construction projects mushrooming around the city. Some rather swanky buildings, including the Kabul Serena, the fancy 5 star hotel. That apart, i was at a shopping mall, that had just gotten ready, complete with escalators and elevators, and also modern looking phone booths, installed across the city.
This was something new and quite a contrast to either of my earlier trips.
That being said, its something that dosent represent the large chunk of its poorer majority, and there are real problems and issues- like power supply. Kabul and the rest of the country, face severe power shortages and diesel gensets are a way of life...
The Government does plan to buy power from the neighbouring countries soon and eventually generate power on its own.
The traffic moves to the right hand side, but the cars are often left hand drive... thats because many of them are imported used cars from the gulf region.
I tried my hands at the wheels of a landrover - driving up to the airport once... somewhat confusing!
Favorite thing: Don't pay in dollar, unless your buying something that cost a lot of money. You will get better prices if you pay in Afghani and try to speak some Persian. Learn a few frases before you go and use them frequently.
Any tradesmen looking for work in Afghanistan contact me. We are looking for experienced Electricians, Carpenters, Plumbers and anyone in construction who can use their skills and supervise the afghan workers. You get a good salary and get sent around the country. The security at the moment is good so there are no worries about safety and if there’s the slightest doubt you get guards. I came in overland from Pakistan by myself and lapped the whole country 3 months ago then got a job and now intend to stay for at least a year. If you want to carry plasterboard in London or pick fruit in Australia then go for it, but if you want to use your trade and travel a bit more adventurously then send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Afghanistan is crying out for Westerners with experience who can show them how its done properly and know that unreliable electricity, mountain passes at 3000m, ridiculously long friendly Afghan greetings, mad traffic and French ISAF soldiers pushing shopping trolleys with there rifles poking out of the basket through the local supermarket picking up their imported wine is all a part of the experience.
[no, this isn't my favorite thing about Tajikistan]
I got a 7 day transit visa (inside a 9 day window) at the Tajik embassy in Kabul.
It is located at:
Wazir Akbar Khan
(right across the street from Lili's Chinese restaurant -- tell the taxi driver this and they should know it).
Look for the guards about 50 meters in from the main road.
The visa cost $60.
PHOTO : Some of the Afghan ethnic are half nomadic.
KABUL as a Capital of Afghanistan, due to many years of war, the city remains shattered and destroyed. I think, it will take 20 years to build up this city to look like before war.
PHOTO : . This civilian nearly lost his life to *boby trap* which been scatered whole over Afghanistan.
The majority of Afghan belong to ISLAM, however, there are also small pockets of Sikhs, Hindus and even small group of Jews. The official languages of the country are Pashto and Dari ( Afghan Persian ).
PHOTO : CENTRAL MOSQUE IN HERAT.
Very nice building built up before the war. Not much differance the structure and color of this mosque building in IRAN. Look like their technical know how are similar.
KABUL is a Capital of Afghanistan. Down here we can see four major ethanic groups mix together in their daily life. The four groups are : Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks. Numerous other minority ethnic groups ie : Nuristanis, Baluchis and Turkmens.
Favorite thing: Ahmed Shah Massoud,the famous Guerilla leader of the Mujahadeen.An educated man,he took up arms to fight the Soviets,Warlords,and Taliban for control of Afghanistan. Although Kabul was re-taken and lost several times by Massoud,his ability as a local politician less than equalled his abilities as a Guerilla leader. Massoud was assasinated in 2001 (2 months before 9/11) by assasins posing as a camera crew. It is claimed the assasins were from Al Qaeda,although many find the event suspicious considering that Massoud had become more anti-american in his stance. Some may of feared he'd be the new ruler if Afghanistan was liberated from the Taliban,on the possibility of any invasion. Massoud met his end when the device inside the camera detonated,killing the assasins and Massoud. In Kabul, a cult of "Massoud" has been born,and he has been elevated to deity like status amongst many Afghans as the leader of Afghanistan "who never was".