Afghanistan landscape © Phillip Hickman
Afghanistan is a landscape of dramatic lush green mountains that become snow-capped in winter, sapphire lakes overflowing into tumbling waterfalls and a wealth of ancient historical and religious sites. Tragically, it nowadays evokes images of war-torn cities, dilapidated buildings and a nation grappling to come to terms with a violent political history and uncertain future.
Afghanistan is an unusual choice of travel destination. But exploring this old and humble land will certainly enrich the lives of those who visit, few and far between as they may currently be. Although some of its famous cultural sites, such as the ancient statues of the Bamiyan Valley, have been damaged or destroyed, there are still fascinating places to explore, including the glorious Band-e-Amir National Park and the Panjshir Mountains north of Kabul. The capital city itself boasts interesting palaces, mosques and markets.
Unfortunately, most governments advise against all travel to Afghanistan as the country is currently considered one of the most dangerous in the world and is the site of ongoing war and conflict. No part of Afghanistan is considered safe for travel, with those brave enough being extremely careful to honour the country's predominantly Muslim beliefs and traditions.
Afghanistan is a country rich in not only culture, but also breathtaking wilderness that hopefully will once again entice intrigued travellers with itchy feet. But until further notice, it seems most foreign visitors to this country will be aid workers or soldiers.
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