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Bamyan has been largely peaceful for the past several years, but in Afghanistan security should never be taken for granted. The country has undergone years of invasion and civil war, and parts of the country remain insecure. However for the serious, self-reliant traveller with a sense of adventure it is possible to visit large parts of northern and central Afghanistan. You must be willing to accept a certain level of risk and accept responsibility for your own decisions. Before travelling, always ask about security in the area you plan to travel to, and on the road to get there. Ask diplomats, UN or other aid workers for the latest security information on particular places. 

Always exercise commonsense precautions. Don’t wear flashy watches or expensive jewelry, keep cash well hidden. Don’t walk around with large amounts of cash if you don’t have to. If you do, divide it up and keep it in a number of places on your person. Don’t leave money or valuables lying around visible in your accommodation. Be particularly careful with passports, which can fetch a high price on the black market. Always be aware of your surroundings. Walk in a purposeful way so you don’t look lost and vulnerable. Afghans are generally very helpful and will go out of their way to assist a foreign guest – but even so, be cautious about entrusting yourself and your security to a stranger. Don’t allow yourself to be taken into places or situations where you are alone or cannot easily leave. Remember that virtually everyone you meet is much poorer than you are, and probably has a large family to feed. Always be polite, even in trying circumstances, to avoid insulting anyone unintentionally. Good manners and personal honour are highly valued in Afghan society and people will be more helpful to a stranger who recognises that.

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