What Not To Do When Visiting Afghanistan
Afghanistan is a lovely country. In the past, it was a top destination for many a tourist. Many people came to experience the diversity in culture and experience life in the high mountains of Afghanistan. But recently, our land has been ravaged by war. The Taliban have destroyed most of our historic sites, and the fight against terrorism has destroyed virtually everything else.
Despite all that, this land has a lot to offer for any adventurer that wants to experience Middle Eastern cultures. Without a doubt, Afghans are very hospitable people. Hospitality is engraved in their blood. This means that whenever you come to visit this land, you will always get people who will welcome you.
Due to the many years of war, of course, there are many incidences of insecurity. With pockets of isis( locally known as Daesh) still existing in the country, as a visitor, you need to take some precautions to ensure that you are safe at all times.
Despite the many misconceptions, realize that as a foreigner, the locals do not posse any threat to you. When you visit Afghanistan, you will find out that the local people like to interact with any outsider who comes to their land. This is one of the reasons why you should visit Afghanistan.
With the development in tech nowadays, you can use English to Pashto translator app, and you will be able to interact with the locals seamlessly, at least on the language part. The downside is that you should not wear any military attire or seem like a military contractor. That will cause some friction with the locals. Otherwise, all is well, and you are good to go. When visiting Afghanistan, here are some mistakes that you should not make.
Research Current State of Things before Visiting Any Place
You should understand that in Afghanistan, safety is a relative state. A city may be captured by insurgents today and taken back by the government within the next two days. Therefore, if you choose to travel to a place, ensure that you understand if it is safe at the moment to go there or not. Always keep checking the Afghan government websites for this information. However, at the moment (2019), here are some states that you can visit that are “relatively” safe.
- Old Balkh
- Panjir valley
Learn a Little Pashto or Persian
Pashto and Persian are the official languages of Afghanistan. If you teach yourself this language, it will help you easily interact with the locals. It will also enable you to look less like a foreigner, which is always a good thing when traveling.
Understand The Country’s Religious Practices
As an Islamic republic, 99% of the population of Afghanistan practices Islam as their religion. Therefore, as a visitor, familiarize yourself with the do’s and don’ts when it comes to Islam so as not to cross the locals.
Research into the Cultural Practices of the Locals
This is one area that can cause a lot of friction. For instance, as a man, always wait for a woman to initiate conversation. Do not start it yourself. Understanding afghan culture is one of the best to ensure a smooth visit to this land. Also, make sure you watch your dress code.
Do Not Call Afghans Arabs
As funny as this may sound, you should understand that Afghanistan is not located in the Middle East. It is a company composed of diverse non-Arab communities located in south-central Asia. With the struggles that these people have faced, you will understand why they would want not want to be mistakenly identified.
Be Civilized; Do Not Assume Everyone in the Country Is Uneducated
This is very straight forward. Even though the educated population might be only 30%, it would not be polite to ask questions that would bring up this fact. Be polite and treat everyone with respect, and that is exactly what you will get in return.
It is essential to realize that this place is not for anyone looking to cross a chapter on their bucket list. You should not come to Afghanistan simply because you want to brag that you went to a war zone. You have to realize what you are getting into precisely. This will come a long way in ensuring that you take the necessary precaution to enable you to enjoy yourself and still get back home safe.