Afghan stereotypes.

Philosophy: Why?

The only open Taliban supporter I saw in Afghanistan asked me if men in Russia had sex with their sisters as he had heard about many times. After a pause caused by a desire to be objective, I said, “Some do. But it is as inappropriate as in Afghanistan.” The pause was probably too long since the guy, turning away his only eye, politely murmured, “But of course…” And we drank some more tea.

What and how quickly I have to say to convince you to consider the thought of spending your vacation in Afghanistan? Just to consider the thought?

Well, it is doable, for starters. It has been done by many people. Not by too many; you get genuine bragging rights. People who have been there wrote about that. And their opinions are similar. To mine. Opinions on China, India, Iran, or just about any other place, opinions of people who have been there differ. Opinions on independent travel in Afghanistan — of people who have done that — do not differ.

Security risks exist, yes. They are lesser than in New York, but they do exist. But you can control most of them. Will the Afghans kill you on sight because you are American? Do you kill the Cubans in the US? Does anybody you know? They are your enemies, remember? Oh, I forgot, there is a drastic difference between you and the Afghans. They are stupid fanatics, and you are a worldly person, you do not even pronounce “Van Gogh” as “Van Goh”. Well-well, here we are approaching the real reason to come to Afghanistan: enlightenment.

You do not have to study Zen Buddhism for years to achieve enlightenment. You can just come to Afghanistan and see that the country is not what you thought about it and definitely not what you were told about it. And the degree of the discovered deception and self-deception may quite be big enough to realize that Afghanistan is not the only thing you were wrong about.

But should you consider going there, how exactly to do that, what to know? Read this manual. Hiring armed guards, selecting proper body armor, acquiring weapons, surviving being taken as a hostage — all that is irrelevant to traveling in Afghanistan. All that is relevant follows.

* * *

“With everything reportedly happening by Allah's will, did we act on His orders when we invaded Afghanistan and killed so many Muslims here?” — was my revenge on the Taliban fan. He did not have to pause before he answered.

* * *

The tourist welcoming committee

next: Concise History of Afghanistan

more: Other things

this page:

copyright: © Sergei Zharov, text, photos, maps, design, code, 2004–2014