Kabul trip report

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Crazydre
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Kabul trip report

Post by Crazydre »

Alright, just got home after an awesome week in Kabul.

As I wrote in an earlier post, getting the visa in Geneva was no match http://caravanistan.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1230

Flew with Turkish Airlines from Zurich via Istanbul, arriving in Kabul at 09:35. The passport controllant (a man in his 50s or so) simply looked at my Swedish (i.e. non-controversial) passport and visa for 10 seconds before giving an entry stamp.

Now, I was puzzled on the foreigner registration card issue so I asked the controllant about it. He barely spoke any English but did turn out to know German (having lived in Austria). He explained to me that indeed, by the book, you are supposed to get a registration card, although enforcement is lax and as long as you have a valid visa, they really cannot prevent you from leaving (although, I thought to myself, "cannot" is rarely a guarantee in a country such as this),

He said that the desk would probably be closed now and that in this case, I should go to the Ministry of Interior or the police head office to register. Within 48 hours, but preferably 12.

The desk was indeed closed, so I went out and hopped on a local bus to the city centre. Costs 40 Afs but it was so cramped that nobody bothered to pay. Took 10 minutes to the centre.

Went to the Salsal Guesthouse, where I had booked a single room for 8 nights (5600 Afs in total). The receptionist (who spoke excellent English by Central Asian standards) asked if I had a registration Card (note: he didn't ask me to show it, but simply whether I had one). When I said I didn't because the airport desk was closed, he called for a colleague, said some things to him in Dari, and asked me whether I had a photo (he didn't ask about two, just one). I did, so the colleague (whose English was much more broken but still alright) drove me to the police head office, where he explained to the officers why we were there.

I got an application form which the hotel man helped me fill out. They then took it with them along with my photo and passport. After I waited for 5 minutes with the Hotel man filling out one more form or perhaps two (I didn't really pay much attention), I got the passport back as well as my stamped registration card. The hotel man then drove me back.

Many of the local buses were actually modern air-conditioned Mercedes vehicles, and I was stunned to see how many buildings were in fact modern, not least the shopping centres.

I mostly ended up walking around to see the City (I particularly enjoyed the area around the Pule Kheshti mosque), but also visited a few mosques, the national gallery and some other interesting sights. My favourite, though (besides the delicious food, particularly the kofta with basmati rice and naan) has to be the Kabul Wall, a walk along which offered a great view of the city.

Oh, and as for safety? Well, I am cautious wherever I go so that might be it, but seriously, safety felt no more of an issue there than in most places. I can imagine it would have been a different story in certain other parts of the country though.

Yesterday I came back home and must say: it was an experience like no other. Among the almost 200 international trips I've made in my 20-year life, this surely ranks among the better ones.
Last edited by Crazydre on Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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steven
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Re: Kabul trip report

Post by steven »

Thank you, andre, good info on the registration. Always nice to hear positive news out of afghanistan! How was the reception of afghanis when they met you in the streets?
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Crazydre
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Re: Kabul trip report

Post by Crazydre »

steven wrote:Thank you, andre, good info on the registration. Always nice to hear positive news out of afghanistan! How was the reception of afghanis when they met you in the streets?
Neutral, they seemed to literally not care that I was a foreigner (I presume because they've got used to all the expats by now). Only issue at times was the language barrier, although my experience is that they (well, the younger folks at least) understand a lot more English than they speak which of course helped (I did my best to speak slowly, clearly and with as basic vocabulary as possible). Of course I also used some Dari phrases which they seemed to react mildly positively to.
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