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Armed With Words: One Woman's Deployment to Afghanistan

Afghanistan was a trendy travel and backpacking destination throughout the 50's and 60's, but recent decades of violence has brought all that travel to a halt. The lure of the beautiful rugged, rocky terrain historically brought in as many outdoorsmen and travelers as did the local culture, scenery and drugs. But now with the Taliban calling Afghanistan home and making it known that they're looking to abduct Western tourists, it's probably not the right time to travel to Afghanistan.

To Do

Were you to ignore conventional wisdom, international advice and your own self-preservation instinct, Kabul should be your first stop. This is not one of those "Wink, wink, you should travel there even though it's considered dangerous" recommendations, we're saying that if you happen to have your own set of armed guards and need to go to Afghanistan, Kabul is where most everything happens.

Outside of Kabul, you should put the Minaret of Jam, in the Hari Rud Valley, on your to-see list and go there in a few decades if things cool down. The Minarets were built in the 11th-13th centuries and the towers were used to demarcate Muslim communities. Today the monument is a UNESCO World Heritage sight but it won't bee seen much until the war in Afghanistan ends.

Getting There

The trip into Afghanistan can be made by car, bus or plane. There are several driving routes from Pakistan, Iran and Uzbekistan. Buses depart from Peshwar, Pakistan and arrive in Jalalabad. Also from Mashad, Iran to Herat.

Dubai is the major hub for flights in and out of Afghanistan. At least three flights run daily, Ariana Afghan Airlines providing the national service. Ariana flights depart less often from Islamabad, Delhi, Istanbul, Baku and Tehran. Kam Air, a private carrier has two flights from Dubai and a few other airlines offer similar service.

Where to Stay

Part of the reconstruction being done in Kabul is a hospitality industry that may soon rival western nations. You can now book hotels for your stay and soon there will be a brand new Marriott hotel in Kabul. The rest of the country offers hotels and private accommodation in major cities.