Mon, Aug 08, 2016 - Page 4 News List

FEATURE: War tourism in Afghanistan: Adventure or hedonism?

AFP, KABUL

“Yes, [Afghanistan] is a risky destination, but it’s a calculated risk,” Milton said.

“If done properly, then the risks can be mitigated quite well and the rewards greatly outweigh the risks — access to a country and culture that not many people get to experience,” he said.

As Thursday’s attack overshadowed the tourism sector, the Afghan Ministry of Culture said the industry was vital for Afghanistan’s future.

“Afghanistan desperately needs foreign tourists,” ministry spokesman Haroon Hakimi said, adding that 20,000 foreigners visited Kabul last year. “The economy is in shambles and this is an important source of revenue.”

Jonny Blair, a 36-year-old Irish backpacker, said he was undaunted by the violence.

“My lasting memory of Afghanistan was playing football with children by the Buddha monastery in Samangan [northern Afghanistan] [and] a night out drinking tea and smoking shisha [water pipe] in Mazari-Sharif,” he said. “It’s totally worth the risk.”

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