Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 15 January 2020, 12:46 NZDT
  • Still current at: 29 February 2020

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Do not travel

Do not travel to Afghanistan. The hostile and unpredictable security situation, high and ongoing threat of terrorism and kidnapping of foreigners present a significant risk to New Zealanders in Afghanistan. New Zealanders currently in Afghanistan are advised to depart as soon as it is safe to do so.

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.

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On 3 January 2020, an Iranian military commander and Iraqi paramilitary leaders were killed in a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad International Airport.

The security situation in the Middle East region is unpredictable and may become increasingly volatile.

There is an ongoing and extreme risk of terrorism throughout Afghanistan. Suicide bomb attacks, roadside bombs, car bombs, rocket attacks and small arms attacks occur frequently. Attacks could occur at anytime, anywhere in Afghanistan. 

The threat to foreigners is extremely high and there are frequent attacks on foreign or Western interests and organisations. These attacks commonly target hotels, housing compounds,  restaurants and other places that are frequented by foreigners.

In 2018, several attacks took place in Kabul. On 28 November 2018, an attack on a British security compound in Kabul killed at least 10 people and injured at least 35 others. On 20 November 2018, a suicide attack on a wedding hall in Kabul killed at least 55 people and injured over 85. On 20 January 2018, four gunmen held a 12 hour siege at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, where 18 people died. On 27 January 2018, attackers blew up an ambulance near an interior ministry building, killing 103 people and injuring 191 others. Insurgents have signalled their intention to continue targeting foreign nationals in Afghanistan.

Many attacks target Afghan and international security forces. Further possible targets include (but are not limited to) embassies, hotels, housing compounds, markets, shops, schools, medical facilities, aid agencies, Afghan government buildings and Kabul International Airport.

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, have been frequently targeted in the past and will likely 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.

Local travel
Road travel in Afghanistan is extremely dangerous, including in Kabul. Suicide bombers in vehicles have attacked international convoys, including those travelling to and from Kabul International Aiport. Attackers often use fake checkpoints to launch attacks. Roadside bombs also cause a significant number of casualties. Travel by road should only be undertaken in secure transport, with armed protection, using reputable local drivers and guides. We advise against travelling at night.

Beyond Kabul the security situation is unpredictable and volatile, particularly in the south and east. 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
As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in Afghanistan, the ability of the New Zealand Government to provide assistance to New Zealand citizens is severely limited. We offer advice to New Zealanders about contingency planning that travellers to Afghanistan should consider.

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.

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.

The New Zealand Embassy Tehran, Iran is accredited to Afghanistan

Street Address No 1, Second Park Alley, Sousan Street, North Golestan Complex, Aghdasiyeh Street, Niavaran, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran Telephone (+98 21) 2612 2175 Alternate Telephone 0044 207 6601157 (via London) Fax (+98 21) 2612 1973 and 0044 207 6601158 (via London) Email Web Site Hours Sun-Thurs 0830-1230, 1300-1500. Note Visa enquiries will only be responded to between 1000-1230

See our regional advice for Central Asia

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Accredited New Zealand Embassy Iran

Street Address
No 1, Second Park Alley, Sousan Street, North Golestan Complex, Aghdasiyeh Street, Niavaran, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Telephone: (+98 21) 2612 2175

Alternate Telephone: 0044 207 6601157 (via London)

Fax: (+98 21) 2612 1973 and 0044 207 6601158 (via London)



Hours: Sun-Thurs 0830-1230, 1300-1500.

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