Is it okay to go to Kabul?
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Warnings are given against traveling to Afghanistan.
German nationals are asked to leave Afghanistan.
Against the background of current developments in the course of the announced withdrawal of the international military presence, there may be a deterioration in the general security situation and a further increasing risk for foreign citizens, especially from May 1, 2021.
- If you are in Afghanistan despite the travel warning, check whether your stay is absolutely necessary and, if necessary, leave the country.
- If a further stay is unavoidable, be aware of the considerable dangers of a stay and ensure that you have a carefully and professionally prepared security concept.
The spread of COVID-19 continues to lead to restrictions in international air and travel traffic and impairment of public life.
Afghanistan is severely affected by COVID-19. Afghanistan is currently classified as a risk area. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides current and detailed figures; however, the official figures are not reliable due to the small number of tests carried out.
Upon entry at Kabul International Airport (HKIA), a negative PCR test in English with the date / time the swab was taken is required; the test must have taken place a maximum of 96 hours before departure. Airlines are required to have documents presented to them at check-in at the departure airport. At passport control in Afghanistan, a form must be filled out with extensive contact information for possible follow-up.
When leaving Afghanistan, as determined by the Afghan health authorities, as with most airlines, a negative PCR test must be submitted, which was taken a maximum of 96 hours before departure by one of the recognized test centers in Afghanistan. Information on the recognized test centers in Afghanistan can usually be found on the website of the airline concerned.
International air traffic is significantly restricted.
Restrictions in the country
There are no official measures such as curfews and travel restrictions. Long-term quarantine measures ordered by the state can, however, be issued at short notice, as was the case in spring 2020. Most public hospitals in Afghanistan do not meet international medical standards. In addition, staying there is very problematic for security reasons, especially with regard to kidnappings.
There is currently no mask and glove requirement, distance rules are hardly observed.
- Please note the applicable travel warning.
- For your own protection, make sure that you comply with the AHA regulations and also follow the instructions of local authorities.
- Stays in foreign countries can currently affect the possibility of entering other countries. Therefore, find out about the current regulations on entry, transit and quarantine in the respective travel countries via the travel and safety information before starting any trip.
- When you return to Germany, note the valid entry restrictions such as registration, test and quarantine regulations, inquire about the current conditions of carriage at the responsible company or your tour operator, if necessary, and contact the health department at your place of residence or residence if you are entering from a risk area . Further information is available in our continuously updated info box on COVID-19 / Coronavirus.
Safety - travel warning
Warnings are given against traveling to Afghanistan.
German nationals are asked to leave Afghanistan.
Serious attacks are repeatedly carried out in Kabul and other parts of the country, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries. Bomb attacks, armed robberies and kidnappings have been part of the range of attacks by anti-government forces in all parts of Afghanistan for years. They are also directed against the international partners of the Afghan government, including Germany and their nationals.
Current developments in the wake of the announced withdrawal of the international military presence could lead to a further increasing risk for foreign citizens, especially from May 1, 2021. More intensive clashes between anti-government forces and security forces of the government of Afghanistan, increased attacks nationwide, as well as targeted attacks on international and international German institutions cannot be ruled out.
Anyone who travels despite the travel warning must be aware of the risk posed by terrorist or criminally motivated acts of violence, including kidnappings. Even with individual or group trips organized by professional tour operators there is an undiminished risk of falling victim to an act of violence or kidnapping.
Attacks on the German consulate general in Mazar-e Sharif in November 2016 and in front of the German embassy in May 2017 severely damaged both representations, so that they are closed to visitors. Legal and consular matters such as issuing passports and visas cannot be dealt with in either Mazar-e Sharif or Kabul.
The following applies to essential travel to Afghanistan: staying in large parts of the country remains dangerous. Any long-term stay is fraught with additional risks.
- When planning your stay, consider the security situation and the resulting restrictions on movement.
- Only undertake trips and stays on the basis of a viable, professional security concept.
- Be especially vigilant in busy locations and on special occasions.
- Please note the worldwide safety information.
The security situation in large parts of the country is unclear and unpredictable because of the repeated and in many parts of the country fighting between Afghan security forces and anti-government forces, especially the Taliban, but also the regional branch of the so-called Islamic State. Changes can occur quickly, even regions that were recently considered to be “comparatively safe” can become battle zones. As a result, travelers can get into life-threatening situations at any time and without being involved themselves.
Demonstrations, especially against Western countries, and protest actions occur all over Afghanistan. These can lead to violent conflicts and traffic disruption.
- Find out about the local media and the current security situation.
- Avoid demonstrations and large crowds in large areas.
- Follow the instructions of local security guards.
Attempts, assaults, kidnappings, including of foreigners, and other violent crimes occur time and again across the country. In addition, there is a high level of everyday crime and organized crime in the cities. German nationals have also been affected.
All over Afghanistan, including the cities and the capital Kabul, Germans are at high risk of being kidnapped or of a violent crime. Criminal groups have targeted foreigners as targets of attacks and assaults. There are no completely safe places.
- In large crowds, near government buildings, schools, airports and bus stations, in markets and all other haunted places, be extra careful and watch out for your surroundings and your valuables.
- Do not stay overnight in unsecured places.
- Keep your money, ID, driver's license, air tickets and other important documents safe.
- Be skeptical of unfamiliar e-mails, profit notifications, offers and requests for help from alleged acquaintances. Do not disclose any data about yourself; if necessary, make sure yourself personally or contact the police.
Nature and climate
Afghanistan lies in a seismically very active zone, so that earthquakes regularly occur, which can result in aftershocks, landslides and floods.
There is a dry, continental climate with hot summers and cold winters.
Persistent precipitation from rain and snow can lead to avalanches, mudslides and slides off entire mountain slopes in endangered areas.
- Always observe prohibitions, signs and warnings as well as the instructions of local authorities.
- Familiarize yourself with earthquake behaviors. These are provided by the fact sheets of the German Research Center for Geosciences.
Responsible diplomatic mission
Consular support for Germans by the German representations in Afghanistan is limited to emergency aid and may even be completely impossible in a specific case due to the security situation.
Infrastructure / traffic
The infrastructure in the country has suffered considerably from the chaos of war, and a large part of the road network has been destroyed. There is no rail traffic.
We strongly advise against cross-country journeys. Afghanistan has been the scene of military conflicts for many years and is one of the countries with a high risk of landmines. Hikes and overland trips, especially off paved roads, can therefore be life-threatening. The safety situation on the route must be carefully clarified as soon as possible.
- Avoid hikes and overland trips as much as possible
- Only make absolutely necessary journeys in a convoy and, if possible, by a professional escort.
The international driving license is required and is only valid in conjunction with the national German driving license.
Homosexuality and transsexuality are socially outlawed. Same-sex acts and transsexuality are criminalized by provisions of Afghan law. No information is available about the conduct of criminal proceedings for homosexual acts and transsexuality. Heterosexual acts outside of marriage are also punishable.
Afghan legislation applies to everyone in Afghanistan, regardless of their religion.
The sale and consumption of alcohol are prohibited and are punishable by law.
Taking photos of public facilities, military sites, airports, security and government vehicles, police officers and security forces is prohibited and can be classified as a criminal offense of espionage and subject to correspondingly long prison sentences. The ban on photography also applies to embassy buildings.
Money / credit cards
The national currency is the Afgani (AFN). Withdrawing cash from ATMs and paying with credit cards are only possible in Kabul. The US dollar is widely accepted as a means of payment.
Entry and customs
Entry and import regulations for German citizens can change at short notice without the Foreign Office being informed beforehand. You can only obtain legally binding information and / or information that goes beyond this information on the entry and customs regulations for importing goods directly from the representatives of your destination country.
You can find the customs regulations for Germany on the website of German customs and via the “Customs and Travel” app, or you can inquire about them by telephone.
Entry is possible for German citizens with the following documents:
- Passport: Yes
- Temporary passport: No
- Identity card: No
- Provisional identity card: No
- Children's passport: No
Comments / minimum remaining validity:
Travel documents must be valid for at least six months after the intended stay and contain at least one blank page.
Make sure that your passport is stamped upon entry, especially if you are not traveling in a proper airliner. Without an entry stamp, problems can arise when leaving the country again.
A recent polio vaccination must be proven by a vaccination certificate, which must not be older than one year when leaving Afghanistan. This can be checked upon departure; Departure can be prohibited without proof of vaccination. The background to this is the occurrence of several polio cases in Afghanistan, see health. If the vaccination was carried out a long time ago, the traveler cannot get the disease himself, but it can still transmit it.
German citizens need a visa to enter Afghanistan, which must be applied for at an Afghan diplomatic mission abroad such as the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan before entering the country.
There are no known special regulations for the entry of minors.
Foreign currency can be imported without restriction, but must be declared upon entry. The export of foreign currency may not exceed the imported and declared amount.
The import and export of local currency is limited to AFN 500.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the disease COVID-19, which is triggered by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a pandemic.
In January 2019, WHO declared delaying or skipping vaccinations as a threat to global health. In particular, the lack of vaccination against measles poses a high risk when the number of cases increases internationally.
- As part of your travel preparations, check your and your children's vaccination protection against measles and have this supplemented if necessary.
- According to the guidelines of the WHO, the departure of all people who have been in the country for more than 4 weeks and who have not been vaccinated against poliomyelitis (polio) in the last 4 weeks to 12 months should be prevented, see poliomyelitis.
No compulsory vaccinations are required for direct entry from Germany. When entering from an area with cases of poliomyelitis (polio), proof of a polio vaccination must be provided. When leaving Afghanistan, a polio vaccination is required for people who have been in the country for more than 4 weeks, see poliomyelitis.
- Make sure that you and your children have the standard vaccinations according to the vaccination calendar of the Robert Koch Institute up to date.
- Vaccinations against hepatitis A and polio are recommended as travel vaccinations, and in the case of long-term stays or special exposure also against typhoid, hepatitis B and rabies.
- Please note the instructions for use and help for the indication in the travel vaccination recommendations leaflet.
- The DTG offers up-to-date, detailed travel vaccination recommendations for specialist groups.
Malaria is caused by crepuscular and nocturnal anopheles- Mosquitoes transmitted. If left untreated, the dangerous one is particularly dangerous Malaria tropica often fatal in non-immune Europeans. The disease can break out weeks to months after your stay in the risk area, see Malaria leaflet.
- If you develop a fever during or even months after a corresponding trip, see your doctor as soon as possible and inform him about your stay in a malaria area.
In Afghanistan, 95% of the malaria is of the vivax type. In the eastern provinces bordering Pakistan below 2,500 m altitude there is a high risk of malaria from May to November and a low risk of malaria from December to April. In the rest of the country, including Kabul, there is a low risk of malaria below an altitude of 2,500m, see Standing Committee on Travel Medicine (StAR) of the DTG.
To avoid malaria, protect yourself consistently against insect bites as part of exposure prophylaxis. This also reduces the risk of rare diseases such as phlebotomic fever (transmitted by mosquitoes), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and relapse fever (both transmitted by ticks). You should pay particular attention to the following points:
- Wear light-colored clothing that covers the body (long trousers, long shirts).
- Repeatedly apply insect repellent to all exposed parts of the body, during the day, in the evening and at night (malaria).
- If necessary, sleep under an impregnated mosquito net.
Depending on the travel profile, in addition to the necessary exposure prophylaxis, chemoprophylaxis (taking tablets) may also make sense (not for short stays in Kabul and the military bases). Various prescription drugs (e.g. atovaquone proguanil, doxycycline, mefloquine) are available on the German market for this purpose.
- Discuss the choice of medication and its personal adjustment as well as side effects or intolerance to other medication with a tropical medicine or travel medicine specialist before taking it.
- It is recommended that you bring sufficient supplies with you.
HIV / AIDS
There is a fundamental risk of HIV transmission through sexual contact, drug use (unclean syringes or cannulas) and blood transfusions.
- Always use condoms, especially on casual acquaintances.
Domestic and commercial wastewater is generally disposed of untreated into surface water through open channels. These are therefore mostly heavily contaminated with fecal germs and chemical pollutants. Diarrhea is common all year round across the country. Tap water, even in cities, is by no means of drinking water quality.
The risk of infection for salmonella, shigella and typhoid diseases, amoebas, lamblia and worm diseases exists nationwide, see information sheet on diarrheal diseases. Therefore, to protect your health, please observe the following basic information:
- Only drink water of safe origin, never tap water. A previously opened bottle can be identified more easily by purchasing carbonated bottled water.
- If possible, use drinking water to wash dishes and brush your teeth when you are out and about.
- If bottled water is not available, use filtered, disinfected, or boiled water.
- Cook or peel food yourself.
- Make sure you keep flies away from your food.
- Wash your hands with soap as often as possible, but always before preparing and eating.
- If possible, disinfect your hands with liquid disinfectant.
Afghanistan is one of the few countries in the world where poliovirus diseases are still reported. The transmission takes place through faecally contaminated drinking water or food.
The WHO has asked Afghanistan to ensure that all residents and long-term visitors who start an international trip from the country for more than 4 weeks have been vaccinated against polio four weeks to 12 months before departure with a dose (oral vaccine bOPV or intramuscular vaccine IPV ). If an urgent trip is imminent and the vaccination against polio was not carried out in the required period, it should be ensured that residents and long-term travelers receive a vaccination at least at the time of departure. Otherwise, the country should prevent these people from leaving the country.
All travelers under four weeks of travel time should have full polio vaccination. Booster vaccinations are necessary every 10 years. All travelers staying in the country for more than four weeks should have been vaccinated against polio four weeks to 12 months prior to departure. In this case, the refreshment every 10 years does not apply! The vaccination must be certified separately in the international vaccination certificate, see information sheet Polio vaccination when traveling abroad.
Rabies is an infectious disease that is always fatal and is caused by viruses that are transmitted with the saliva of infected animals or humans. Nationwide there is a high risk of bite injuries from stray dogs and the transmission of rabies. The necessary medical measures after bite injuries to an unvaccinated person are usually not possible in Afghanistan. Vaccination against a bite offers reliable protection against the disease, see the rabies leaflet.
- Avoid contact with stray animals.
- Get advice and vaccination about rabies vaccination.
- Even if you have been vaccinated, seek medical advice immediately after contact with a potentially infected animal or human (bite, licking of injured skin areas or droplets of saliva on the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes).
Typhus abdominalis is caused by bacteria (so-called salmonella). Typical initial symptoms are fever and headache. In the further course, watery diarrhea or constipation, cough and reddening of the skin can occur. The pathogens are absorbed through contaminated food and drinking water. In Afghanistan there have been repeated typhoid diseases in recent years that are difficult to treat due to antibiotic resistance.
- Maintain good drinking water and food hygiene.
- Get advice about a typhoid vaccination and, if necessary, get vaccinated.
In particular, skin leishmaniasis (a parasitic disease transmitted by sand flies with skin changes that usually only appear weeks to months after the bite) is widespread in rural areas.
- Protect yourself adequately against sand flies as part of exposure prophylaxis.
- If your skin ulcer does not heal, see a doctor after visiting Afghanistan.
Tuberculosis is much more common across the country than in Central Europe. It is transmitted from person to person via droplet infection or close contact. Improper or discontinued treatment is particularly at high risk for resistant tuberculosis. Wearing a surgical mask does not protect against infection.
Influenza (Seasonal Influenza)
The seasonal influenza viruses, including influenza A / H1N1 ("swine flu"), circulate in Afghanistan during the winter months. Exact information on the number of illnesses is not known.
- Get advice on vaccination if you belong to the risk groups addressed by the Robert Koch Institute.
Altitude sickness is a potentially very dangerous functional disorder of the lungs and brain caused by tactical errors in the necessary altitude adjustment above 2,300m (e.g. due to too rapid ascent and overexertion), see leaflet altitude sickness.
Intense solar radiation, glare from snow and ice, strong winds, extreme cold and impassable or unfamiliar terrain harbor additional risks for travelers at high altitudes. Earthquakes or prolonged precipitation can lead to avalanches, mudslides and slides off entire mountain slopes in endangered areas.
- Before you travel to high altitudes (over 2,300 m), seek individual advice from a doctor who is experienced in altitude medicine before finalizing your travel plans. Travel health insurance that covers the mountain risk (e.g. a helicopter evacuation) is strongly recommended.
In the summer months, the air can be exposed to high levels of dust. In the western parts of the country in particular, hot dust storms (“shomals”) often occur. Chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma or COPD can worsen significantly as a result. The eyes should also be protected accordingly.
Medical care is inadequate in large parts of the country, and emergency care with a functioning rescue chain is usually non-existent. Medical care in Kabul does not meet European standards either. Due to the tense security situation, it is hardly possible for foreigners to visit local clinics or hospitals.
In the event of serious illness, a medical evacuation, e.g. to India or Dubai, must be considered.
The supply of reliable medication and an uninterrupted cold chain are often not guaranteed. It must be expected that counterfeit products will be sold instead of properly approved drugs, especially in small pharmacies in rural areas. There are numerous resistances to frequently used antibiotics across the country.
- Take out travel health and repatriation insurance for the duration of your stay abroad. The German Liaison Office for Health Insurance - Abroad provides detailed information.
- Take an individual first-aid kit as well as medication to be taken regularly with you to Afghanistan and protect them against high temperatures when you are out and about, see leaflet on the first-aid kit. Have your doctor certify the entry requirement in English.
- Before you go on a trip, seek personal advice from tropical medicine advice centers, tropical doctors or travel doctors and adjust your vaccination protection, even if you have already experienced the tropics from other regions. Corresponding doctors can be found e.g. B. via the DTG.
In addition to the general disclaimer, please note:
- All information is intended for the information of medically trained. They are not a substitute for the consultation of a doctor.
- The recommendations are tailored to direct entry from Germany to a travel destination, especially for longer stays on site. For shorter trips, entries from third countries and trips to other areas of the country, deviations may apply.
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