Paint a picture. Paint overtop all the military checkpoints, violent past, and whatever else the media has filled your imagination with about this place. Paint locals whose smiles speak for their overwhelming hospitality. Paint clear, blue skies, bourn by one of the most dramatic mountain vistas imaginable. This place is what fairytales are made of. As I open my eyes and remember where I am, it all sets in. Reality is what you make of it, but finding the truth to reality is a traveler’s fortune. Here I am in the Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan; what an incredible place I have found myself in.
Mazar E-Sharif – Afghanistan
“Who am I? I am a traveler, I’m a wanderer and madman. I’m a scar of love, in my loneliness… I am Legend”
– Afghan Legend: Ahmad Zahir
Many have attempted to conquer these lands. Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan are two prime examples. None, however, had succeeded in conquering this paradise from the proud, noble Afghan tribes. In 1979, there entered another conquering faction. This time, it was the Soviets. The Afghan people fought hard in this bloody occupation. Leading the campaign was none other than the Afghan group named the Mujahedeen. It is estimated that up to 1.5 million civilians were killed in this brutal act of war. The Mujahedeen fought using guerrilla warfare tactics within Afghanistan’s own borders, in cities and countryside alike. This provoked the Soviets to begin bombing and utilizing landmines, leaving Afghanistan in ruins. Ultimately, the Mujahedeen exhausted the soviets and forced them to flee these lands.
Why Travel to Afghanistan?
Afghanistan is a travelers dream. Unfortunately because of Afghanistan’s recent events it has been off the travel radar. Times are changing however, and travellers are beginning to enter Afghanistan borders once again. Afghanistan plays host to an amazing array of sights, cultures, and landscapes that will one day be on every traveller’s checklist. The north of Afghanistan hosts some of the country’s most exotic markets, and incredible mosques. The north also offers many hidden valleys amongst Afghanistan tallest mountains the Pamirs. In these valleys you will find hidden villages, and a wide variety of different traditional cultures. Head to Afghanistan’s centre and find pristine blue lakes, pine forests and ancient Buddhist kingdoms. The south of Afghanistan remains mostly off limits due to civil unrest, but one day the deserts near Kandahar will be filled with curious travellers looking for that long lost adventure. Afghanistan may have had a difficult past. But it is looking towards the future now. Look past all the problems and you will discover one of my favourite countries that I have ever visited. Read More