Afghanistan Country Report
Although the National Unity Government will remain politically sclerotic, international funding has stabilised and is sufficient to ensure the government remains financially viable over the next three years. Under the Trump administration, the US increased the number of troops by 3,500, and there are now approximately 15,000 US troops deployed alongside roughly 6,500 NATO soldiers. Taliban insurgents will conduct attacks against security forces and officials, causing high levels of casualties through ongoing bombings and assaults in Kabul, as well as threatening to capture provincial capitals through guerrilla operations. Despite an internal split within Islamic State Wilayat Khorasan, the group will probably continue to pose a threat to the Afghan central government in terms ofterritorial control and high-casualty attacks in urban centres, including Kabul.
Widespread insecurity, corruption, and lack of infrastructure remain the key obstacles to foreign investment in Afghanistan. There have been some improvements over the past decade – for example in telecommunications through the expansion of the mobile network, and civil aviation, with a greater number of international carriers flying into Kabul regularly. However, further significant improvements to infrastructure are highly unlikely in the next two years because of financial constraints and the poor security environment. Labour strike risks will remain very low due to the lack of an organised labour movement, while bribery and corruption risks will remain very high.
Taliban insurgents will launch frequent attacks against government and foreign buildings, Afghan military and police outposts, and official Afghan or foreign vehicles in transit. Attacks are likely to involve suicide bombings, roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and vehicle-borne IEDs. Terrorist attacks orchestrated by the Taliban will continue to occur frequently in Kabul and across rural Afghanistan over the next year, particularly in the north, south, and east. Although the Islamic State in Afghanistan focuses on Afghan targets, the group will occasionally target foreign military and diplomatic facilities.
Violence in Afghanistan remains very high, with an average of 780 effective enemy attacks per month from December to May 2017, according to US forces. Although the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) – backed by US air support and a residual NATO training mission – are able to recapture lost territory, it is highly unlikely that the force will be able to improve the security situation over the next year. In September 2017, the US increased troop levels from 11,000 to approximately 15,000, which will indirectly assist in stabilising the security environment but is unlikely to result in substantive improvements.
Protest risks are small compared with other security issues in Afghanistan, but large protests are likely to occur several times a year and have a moderate-to-low likelihood of becoming violent. Media reports that blame international forces for civilian casualties are likely to trigger protests, and anti-government political protests are also likely. Protests would be likely in urban areas, particularly in Kabul, and will probably target government buildings.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for all individuals traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.
Hepatitis A : a vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B : a vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio : a booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever : if your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies : for prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Malaria, recommended preventive medication : mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).
For Children : all standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Afghanistan is a very mountainous country with a significant risk of earthquakes.
A 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit Badakhshan province (southeast, Pram region) in October 2015, causing over 400 deaths and injuring some 2500 people.
Avalanches and snowstorms are frequent in the winter months and cause dozens of deaths every year. In February 2016, around 200 people were killed in a series of avalanches in the northeast (Salang and Panjshir regions).
Devastating floods and mudslides are also regularly reported; in April 2016, around 50 people were killed following torrential rains and floods in northern Baghlan and Takhar provinces.
Transportation infrastructure (by road and air) in the country is severely underdeveloped and travel carries its own inherent risks. The poor state of roads, high crime rates (attacks, extortion, kidnapping, illegal vehicle checkpoints, etc.), and the ever-growing insurrection make highway travel extremely risky in both the countryside as well as on the outskirts of cities. Road travel outside urban areas should only be conducted on a case-by-case basis following an adequate risk assessment. Flying within Afghanistan is not necessarily safe either; Afghan airlines have notoriously lax safety and security standards and none of the domestic companies, including Ariana, Safi, Pamir, and Kam Air, are allowed to operate in European Union airspace for this reason.
Afghanistan's climate is continental, with hot and dry summers (35°C to 40°C) and harsh and snowy winters, particularly at high elevations (with temperatures reaching -40°C). Precipitation is the most abundant in the months of March and April.
There are no emergency services in the country.
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