Flag of Afghanistan (as at Aug 31, 2021)

Flag of Afghanistan (as at Aug 31, 2021)

Facts

  • Population » 35.5 million (2017)
  • Languages » Dari, Pashto
    • Regional languages include Uzbek, Turkmen, Balochi Nuristani and Wakhi.
  • Religion » Islam
    • More than 99% of the population are Muslim, with the majority following Sunni Islam (90%).
  • Life expectancy » 59 years (men), 62 years (women)
  • Currency » Afghani (AFN)
    • 1 Afghani (AFN) = 100 pulse
  • Electricity » 220 volts; longer-lasting power cuts
    • Plug types C, E & F (Source)

Geography

  • Area » 652,864 sq km (251,827 sq miles)
  • Landlocked and mountainous
  • Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain was an inescapable part of the Silk Road
  • Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east; Iran in the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north; and in the far northeast, China.
Map of Afghanistan (Source » France, June 2021)

Security Map of Afghanistan (Source » France, June 2021)

Maps

Overland

  • A risk not to be ignored is the drivers and poor road conditions.

Climate

  • Afghanistan has cool, dry winters and hot summers. In the mountainous central areas the winters are harsh and snowy. In the summer it can get chilly at altitude, especially at night.

Notes

  • August 31, 2021 » The Taliban have won the war and have declared independence. The American troops have retreated.
  • The international community has yet to recognize the new regime.
  • About 2.6 million people from Afghanistan are living as refugees, representing the second-largest refugee population in the world after Syria (2020).
    • Pakistan hosts nearly 1.4 million of these refugees, including some second- or third-generation Afghan refugees who have never lived in their home country.
  • Afghanistan has been a crossroads of civilizations for centuries. Darius the Great, Alexander the Great, and Marco Polo have all been there. It has been and still is a place of world interest, of legendary hospitality to guests, and legendary hostility to invaders.
  • Expect occasional outages of the electrical supplying.
  • Internet facilities are available in the larger cities but also suffer from a lack of a constant power supply.
  • Alcohol is officially banned.
  • Food in rural Afghanistan is basic.
  • During Ramadan Muslims fast during daylight hours. Be mindful there will be a lack of shops and restaurants open during those hours.
  • Dress conservative: Respect the local traditions and customs and at minimum wear loose fitting long sleeve tops and loose trousers or long skirts.
    • Especially when travelling in an area governed by Sharia law, respect local religious traditions and avoid offending local sensitivities. Penalties under Sharia law can be very severe, particularly for offences such as theft and adultery.
  • Avoid photographing local people without their consent.

Health Advice

Safety and Security

  • Afghanistan is considered one of the world’s most dangerous destinations for foreign nationals.
    • As of August 2021, the Taliban, a Deobandi Islamist movement and military organization, have taken control of the government and the whole country.
    • After 20 years and US$2 trillion of military action against the Taliban and Afghanistan people and their attempt at imposing nation building and regime change according to American vision and values, the US military withdrew. The retreat ended on August 31, 2021.
    • As of December 12, 2018, most, if not all, western governments advise against all travel to Afghanistan.

Government Travel Advice

Embassies

Posts

Media

Resources

This page was last updated on 2021.08.31 by Robert Vinet