Afghanistan Overview


GENERAL

Official name of the state

Islamic State of Afghanistan.

Capital

Kabul.

Geography

As a country located in Asia according to oxfordastronomy, Afghanistan borders in the north with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, in the northeast with China, in the east and south with Pakistan and in the west with Iran. The breakdown shows three landscapes: the southern highlands, Afghan-Turkestan in the north and the Hindu Kush in the northeast. The latter rises to 7200 m and is separated from the Koh-i-Baba mountain range by the Bamian valley, in which the Helmand also rises. To the north and southwest of the mountains lie fertile alluvial plains.

Government

In 1996 the Taliban took control of Afghanistan and introduced a fundamentalist Islamic regime that was not recognized by the United Nations and Western states. After months of Western military strikes, the Taliban regime was overthrown and a UN-mediated conference was convened in Bonn (Germany) in November 2001. The result of the ‘Petersberg Conference’ was a framework agreement to set up a transitional government with provisional government institutions. A United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan(UNAMA) supported the new government in its work and is still active in Afghanistan. In June 2002 the traditional council meeting of all Afghan tribes (Loya Jirga) convened on the basis of the ‘Petersberg Agreement’, which elected the head of the transitional government, Hamid Karzai, as president of the country for the next 18 months. National assembly with 250 members and council of elders. January 2004 Constitution.

Head of state

Ashraf Ghani, since September 2014.

Electricity

220V, 50Hz. Poor electricity supply, lots of blackouts.

Time zone

Afghanistan Time: CET +5: 30

MONEY

Currency

1 Afghani = 100 pulse (in practice of no significance). Currency abbreviation: Af, AFN (ISO code). The Afghani banknotes are in circulation in denominations of 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 Af. US $ is the accepted currency.

Credit cards

Will not be accepted.
ATMs

ec / Maestro card / Sparcard

Attention: Travelers who pay abroad with their bank customer card and want to withdraw money should find out about the possibilities of using their card from their bank before starting their journey.

In Kabul (New Kabul Bank, Afghanistan International Bank) it is possible to withdraw money from ATMs with Visa, Mastercard and American Express. A sign on the machine indicates whether cards with the Cirrus and Maestro symbols are accepted.

Bank opening times

Sa-Wed 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1 p.m.-4.30 p.m., Thu 8 a.m.-1.30 p.m.

Foreign exchange regulations

No restrictions on the import of foreign currencies; Declaration obligation. The export of foreign currencies must not exceed the sum of the specified imported sum. The import and export of the national currency is limited to 500 Af.

Currency Exchange

The common practice is to change money at street vendors, here the amount received should be counted. A change in one of the banks in Kabul is safer, but more time-consuming. Larger hotels also exchange in local currency.

LANGUAGE

Overview

The official languages are Pashto (35%) and Dari-Persian (59%). Turkic languages (11%), mainly Uzbek and Turkmen, as well as 30 minority languages ​​(4%) are also spoken. Many people are bilingual.

Afghanistan Overview

DUTY-FREE SHOPPING

Overview

No reliable information on customs regulations is currently available.

The following items can be imported into Afghanistan duty-free:
Items for personal use (clothing, toiletries, etc.) as well as tobacco products, alcoholic beverages and perfume for personal use.
A permit from the tourist office in Kabul is required to import cameras and film cameras.

Export regulations

Antiques, hides and carpets only with an export permit.

ECONOMY

Business etiquette

Bargaining is common and oral contracts are binding. Suit and tie or costume or dress are appropriate. Appointments should be made in advance;

Business hours: Sat-Wed 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1 p.m.-4.30 p.m., Thu 8 a.m.-1.30 p.m.

COMMUNICATION

Phone

GSM 900/1800. There are few landline telephone lines in Afghanistan, these are mainly in Kabul and are reserved for government officials and members of aid organizations. Cell phones are mainly used for communication in the country. There is a cellular network in Afghanistan, Afghan Wireless (Internet: www.afghanwireless.com), the reception area is currently limited to the cities of Kabul, Mazar-i-sharif, Kandahar and Herat.

Internet

There are internet cafes in Kabul. Internet access in the country is currently being expanded.

Post Office

Airmail to Europe used to take about a week. The international courier DHL supports the national postal system.

Radio

Since the use of shortwave frequencies changes several times over the course of a year, it is advisable to contact Deutsche Welle customer service directly (Tel: (+49) (0228) 429 32 08. Internet: www.dw-world.de) to request.

SHOP

Overview

Traditional souvenirs are coats and jackets made of lambskin and suede, Turkmen hats, embroidery from Kandahar, Istaff ceramics, glass from Herat, nomad jewelry, hand-knotted carpets and rugs, wood carvings from Nuristan, silk, brass, copper and silver work.

CULINARY

ACCOMMODATION

Hotels

There are some hotels in Kabul, such as the Inter-Continental Hotel, which more or less meet western standards. The few accommodations outside of Kabul are generally of a very low standard.

CULTURE

Religion

Islam (majority: Sunnis (80%)); Minorities of Shiites, Hindus, Jews and Sikhs.

Social rules of conduct

Outside of Kabul, tightly knit tribal communities with clearly defined male and female roles predominate. Religion and tradition play an important role within the family. It is considered an insult to show the soles of your feet. Guest rooms are unknown and guests share the space with the family. Women should cover their shoulders and wear pants or long skirts. The handshake is accepted as a greeting, although traditionally one hugs each other as a greeting. Smoking is widespread and cheap by European prices. It is a compliment to be offered a cigarette by the host. (More information in the chapter on Islam in the appendix.) Photography: Be careful when choosing a subject, military installations may not be photographed.

CLIMATE

Best travel time

Although Afghanistan is at the same latitude as the southern United States, the altitude makes it much cooler. In locations above 2500 m there is winter almost all year round, above 4000 m life is impossible. In the southern highlands, summers are hot and winters are severe. Nationwide there are large temperature fluctuations between day and night, summer and winter.

COUNTRY DATA

Area code +93 Area (square km) 652 225 Population 32564342 Population density (per square km) 50 Population in 2015 Member of the EU No main emergency number 119

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