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Reviewed 15 October 2013, 14:08 NZDT
Still current at: 07 December 2013
There is extreme risk to your security in Afghanistan and we advise against all travel. The hostile security situation and frequent kidnapping of foreigners presents a significant risk to New Zealanders in Afghanistan. New Zealanders currently in Afghanistan with concerns for their safety are advised to depart.
New Zealanders who decide to travel to Afghanistan against our advice should ensure that appropriate personal security protection measures are in place at all times. We strongly recommend you consult a reputable security company (with experience in Afghanistan), for advice on security arrangements. Security arrangements should be reviewed on a regular basis. Such measures may mitigate the risks to your safety but cannot eliminate them entirely.
There is an on-going and significant risk from insurgents throughout the country. Suicide bomb attacks, roadside bombs, car bombs, rocket attacks, small arms attacks and political assassinations occur frequently, including in Kabul. Attacks could occur at anytime, anywhere in Afghanistan and often target foreign or Western interests and organisations. Possible targets include (but are not limited to) embassies, hotels, housing compounds, guesthouses, restaurants, markets, shops, schools, medical facilities, aid agencies, Afghan government buildings, Kabul International Airport, transport infrastructure, multinational forces, Afghan security forces.
New Zealanders in Afghanistan should monitor local information sources for information on new safety and security risks as the security situation can change very quickly.
Kidnapping for ransom and the hostage taking of foreign nationals is a significant problem throughout Afghanistan. Foreign nationals (including aid workers, journalists and those working for non-governmental organisations and international organisations) continue to be targeted. In addition to taking professional security advice, you should vary your routines to avoid setting predictable patterns of movement, particularly around travel routes.
Road travel in Afghanistan is extremely dangerous. Suicide bombers in vehicles have attacked convoys and often use fake checkpoints to launch attacks. Roadside bombs are also causing an increasing number of casualties. Travel by road should only be undertaken in secure transport, with armed protection, using reputable local drivers and guides.
Beyond Kabul the security situation is unpredictable and volatile. Many areas of Afghanistan are controlled by warlords and the Taliban. The terrorist organisation al-Qaeda also has an active presence in parts of the country. Violent crime such as carjacking, armed robbery and banditry is also an issue, particularly in rural areas.
Unexploded landmines and munitions are a hazard throughout the country.
General Travel Advice
New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Afghanistan to avoid offending local sensitivities. Modesty and discretion should be exercised in both dress and behaviour.
During the holy month of Ramadan, New Zealanders travelling to Muslim countries including Afghanistan should show respect and pay attention to religious and cultural sensitivities. New Zealanders should refrain from eating, drinking or smoking in public view during the daytime.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Afghanistan should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air. You should check that your travel insurance policy covers travel in Afghanistan – exclusions may well apply. Only very limited medical facilities are available in Afghanistan and there are shortages of even the most basic medical supplies.
New Zealanders who decide to travel or live in Afghanistan despite this advisory are strongly advised to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Street Address 15th St. Roundabout, Wazir Akbar Khan,
Telephone +93 700 102 000 ext 2376
The New Zealand Embassy in Kabul is a sole-person post, located within the British Embassy at this address. The Ambassador's frequent absences from post mean capacity to respond quickly to requests from, or incidents involving New Zealanders is strictly limited.
New Zealanders in Afghanistan requiring assistance are advised to notify the New Zealand Embassy in Tehran on +98 21 2612 2175.