Ok. Before I even get started on this one I wanna say that I did go to Afghanistan in July, 2009, and I did read this book beforehand and during my stay there. I’m the “adventurous” type and went simply for a holiday. Not as part of an NGO or military or work or anything like that. Just for the fun of it I guess you would say. From my personal experience I can say, adamantly, DO NOT USE THIS AS A GUIDEBOOK along the lines of where to stay, visit, eat or anything else like that. This is one guidebook that can get you killed.
The 1st edition, published in 2007. I’m not sure this was a wise decision by Lonely Planet. Actually, what I should say, is this was published to make money and that is it. There is no way anyone can publish a book on a country like Afghanistan and even slightly think that it will help their readers with lodging and visiting decisions. The book was probably outdated a few months before the publishing date…
Take everything in this book with a grain of salt. It’s a fast moving country and to try to list “tourist” sites, places to stay, and places to eat could be potentially deadly. Good background info read before you go, definitely, but used as a “guide” …good luck.
Case in point: I originally was going to stay at a highly recommended hotel in the book. I got there, Kabul that is, walked out of the airport and, talking to the mercs there, found out that the manager of that particular hotel was killed a few months earlier. …in the lobby of the hotel. Shot right behind the front desk. The mercs were really adamant about not staying there as the hotel was now compromised and an extremely dangerous place to stay. They gave me about a 75% chance of being kidnapped. Hmm. LP gave it a highly rated…
Now, it’s not all bad. If your thinking of going than I would definitely recommend this as a good, comprehensive background and general overview type read of the country. In that sense one of the more recent out there. Written and published in the easy and eye pleasing Lonely Planet style, I would even say it’s worth the money if you’re at all interested in the country. I even learned a few important phrases before I went. CBIED, DBIED, DCIED …and things like that. The authors do have multiple “warnings” about information in the book also, so hats off to them there. Maybe even one of the more interesting lonely Planet’s I’ve read. So, in the historical and background context of the book, I would definitely give it a highly recommended.
As a guidebook though, not recommended at all. If you are going though, and don’t feel like spending the money, I left mine in the library of the Serena Kabul. Really didn’t wanna part with it, but didn’t wanna carry it around for the next two months either.
…as a Background Read: Highly Recommended
…as a Guidebook: Potentially Deadly
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