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Afghanistan

After more than two decades of conflict, Afghanistan has begun an enormous political, economic, and social transformation since it was catapulted onto the world stage in 2002. Progress to date has been encouraging, but tremendous challenges remain.

Afghanistan

   
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 COUNTRY OVERVIEW
Country Name: Afghanistan
Continent: Asia
Capital City: Kabul
Boundary Countries:

China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

Recommended Hospitals in Capital:
Main Cities: Kabul, Kandahar, Kondoz, Bagram, Herât, Shir Khan, Zaranj, Ghanzi
Country Size: 647,500 sq km
Population: 31,056,997

 

COUNTRY GENERAL INFORMATION
Language:

Afghan Persian or Dari (official) 50%, Pashtu (official) 35%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism

Currency: afghani (AFA)
Predominant Religions:

Sunni Muslim 80%, Shi'a Muslim 19%, other 1%

National Holidays: Independence Day, 19 August (1919)
Economic Status:

Afghanistan's economy is recovering from decades of conflict. The economy has improved significantly since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, largely because of the infusion of international assistance, the recovery of the agricultural sector, and growth of the service sector.

Security:

Afghan National Army (includes Afghan Air Force)

US Presence:

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul
Great Massoud (Airport) Road
Telephone: 0700-108-001 or 0700-108-002
Emergency after-hours telephone: 0700-201-908. 
The website is http://kabul.usembassy.gov.

Document Requirements:

A passport and valid visa are required to enter and exit Afghanistan.  Afghan entry visas are not available at Kabul International Airport.  American citizens who arrive without a visa are subject to confiscation of their passport and face heavy fines and difficulties in retrieving their passport and obtaining a visa, as well as possible deportation from the country.  Americans arriving in the country via military air usually have considerable difficulties if they choose to depart Afghanistan on commercial air, because their passports are not stamped to show that they entered the country legally.  Those coming on military air should move quickly after arrival to legalize their status if there is any chance they will depart the country on anything other than military air.  Visit the Embassy of Afghanistan web site at http://www.embassyofafghanistan.org for the most current visa information.  The Consular office of the Embassy of Afghanistan is located at 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 216, Washington, DC 20007, phone number 202-298-9125.

Major Airports:

Airports: 46; Airports w/paved runways: 11

Servicing Airlines:
+ Atlantic Southeast Airlines    
Risks and Precautions:

The United States Dept. of State issued a TRAVEL WARNING for Afghanistan, which was last updated on 8 March 2011. This information is also available online at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5369.html.

The Department of State warns US citizens against travel to Afghanistan. The security threat to all US citizens in Afghanistan remains critical. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Afghanistan issued August 13, 2010, to remind US citizens of ongoing security risks, including kidnapping and insurgent attacks.
No part of Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence, and the potential exists throughout the country for hostile acts, either targeted or random, against US and other Western nationals at any time. Remnants of the former Taliban regime and the al-Qa'ida terrorist network, as well as other groups hostile to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) military operations, remain active. There is an ongoing threat to kidnap and assassinate US citizens and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) workers throughout the country. Afghan authorities have a limited ability to maintain order and ensure the security of Afghan citizens and foreign visitors. Travel in all areas of Afghanistan is unsafe due to military combat operations, landmines, banditry, armed rivalry between political and tribal groups, and the possibility of terrorist attacks, including attacks using vehicular or other improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The security environment remains volatile and unpredictable.
In August 2010 a group of doctors, nurses, and medical practitioners, including six US citizens, was shot and killed near their vehicles in Badakhshan province as they completed a medical aid visit to remote areas in nearby Nuristan province. Also in Badakhshan province in spring 2010, a group of US citizen missionaries who were alleged to be proselytizing in the area encountered hostility and required evacuation from the area by the Ministry of Interior and the US Embassy.
In Kandahar, the assassination campaign against government officials, their associates, or anyone notably linked to the government, continues. The number of attacks throughout the south and southeastern areas of the country is growing as a result of insurgent and drug-related activity, and no part of Afghanistan is immune from violence.

Kabul is also considered at high risk for militant attacks, including rocket attacks, vehicle borne IEDs, and suicide bombings. Five United Nations (UN) workers were killed during an attack on a UN guesthouse in Kabul in October 2009. More than 20 attacks were reported in Kabul over the past year, although many additional attacks were thwarted by Afghan and coalition forces. Recent incidents include the bombing of a Kabul supermarket popular with Westerners and an attack on the Kabul City Center complex, which includes a hotel frequented by foreign visitors. Insurgents have also targeted the offices, convoys, and individual implementing partners of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The attack against a Kandahar guesthouse on April 15, 2010, along with the UN attack mentioned above, highlights the growing threat against guesthouses. Buildings or compounds that lack robust security measures in comparison to neighboring facilities may be viewed as targets of opportunity by insurgents.
The Kabul-Jalalabad Road (commonly called Jalalabad Road) and the Kabul to Bagram Road are highly restricted for Embassy employees and, if the security situation warrants, sometimes prohibited completely.
Riots and incidents of civil disturbance can and do occur, often without warning. US citizens should avoid rallies and demonstrations; even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.
Ambushes, robberies, and violent crime remain a problem. US citizens involved in property or business disputes — a common legal problem in Afghanistan — have reported that their adversaries in the disputes have threatened their lives. US citizens who find themselves in such situations should not assume that either local law enforcement or the US Embassy will be able to assist them. From time to time, depending on current security conditions, the US Embassy places areas frequented by foreigners off limits to its personnel. Potential target areas include key national or international government establishments, international organizations and other locations with expatriate personnel, and public areas popular with the expatriate community. Private US citizens are strongly urged to heed these restrictions as well and may obtain the latest information by consulting the embassy website below.
From time to time, depending on current security conditions, the US Embassy places areas frequented by foreigners off limits to its personnel. Potential target areas include key national or international government establishments, international organizations and other locations with expatriate personnel, and public areas popular with the expatriate community such as restaurants. Private US citizens are strongly urged to heed these restrictions as well and may obtain the latest information by consulting the Embassy’s security announcements website.
The US Embassy's ability to provide emergency consular services to US citizens in Afghanistan is limited, particularly for those persons outside the capital. US citizens who choose to visit or remain in Afghanistan despite this Travel Warning are encouraged to enroll with the U.S. Embassy in Kabul through the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to obtain updated information on travel and security within Afghanistan. US citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the US Embassy. Enrolling makes it easier for the Embassy to contact US citizens in case of an emergency. The US Embassy is located at Great Masood Road between Radio Afghanistan and the Ministry of Public Health (the road is also known as Bebe Mahro or Airport Road) in Kabul. The Embassy phone numbers are 93-(0)700-108-001 and 93-(0)700-108-002. For after-hours, life-or-limb emergencies involving US citizens, the Consular Section can be reached at 93-(0)700-201-908; please direct routine consular correspondence to USConsulKabul@state.gov.
Current information on travel and security in Afghanistan may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. For further information, please consult the Country Specific Information for Afghanistan and the current Worldwide Caution, which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total: 151.95 deaths/ 1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:  Total: 44.64 (male 44.47/ female 44.81 years)

Immunization Indicators:

Required: None
Recommended:  Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid, Rabies, Polio, Malaria
Boosters:  MMR, DPT, others if needed

Infectious Disease Concerns:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
animal contact disease: rabies
Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Well-equipped medical facilities are few and far between throughout Afghanistan.  European and American medicines are available in limited quantities and may be expensive or difficult to locate.  There is a shortage of basic medical supplies.  Basic medicines manufactured in Iran, Pakistan, and India are available, but their reliability can be questionable.  Several western-style private clinics have opened in Kabul:  the DK-German Medical Diagnostic Center (www.medical-kabul.com), Acomet Family Hospital (www.afghancomet.com), and CURE International Hospital (ph. 079-883-830) offer a variety of basic and routine-type care; Americans seeking treatment should request American or Western health practitioners.

Afghan public hospitals should be avoided.  Individuals without government licenses or even medical degrees often operate private clinics; there is no public agency that monitors their operations.  Travelers will not be able to find Western-trained medical personnel in most parts of the country outside of Kabul, although there are some international aid groups temporarily providing basic medical assistance in various cities and villages.  For any medical treatment, payment is required in advance.  Commercial medical evacuation capability from Afghanistan is limited and could take days to arrange.  Even medevac companies that claim to service the world may not agree to come to Afghanistan.  Those with medevac insurance should confirm with the insurance provider that it will be able to provide medevac assistance to this country.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 0
Referrals: 5
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

There have been outbreaks of Avian Influenza in poultry in Afghanistan, to include the areas of Nangahar, Laghman, and Wardak provinces, and in the city of Kabul, however, there have been no reported cases of the H5N1 virus in humans.  Updates on the Avian Influenza situation in Afghanistan are published on the Embassy’s web site at http://kabul.usembassy.gov/information_for_travelers.html.  For additional information on Avian Influenza, please refer to the Department of State's Avian Influenza Fact Sheet available at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/health/health_1181.html

Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Afghanistan.  For further information, please consult the CDC's Travel Notice on TBhttp://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/yellowBookCh4-TB.aspx

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +93
Internet Country Code:  .af

 



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