Published on : Thursday, January 6, 2022
The regime change in Afghanistan has reduced tourist activity in Afghanistan’s blue mountain, “It used to be very good, there were skiing programmes and competitions in the winter,” said a tourist guide.
The winter landscape around the deep, blue mountain lakes of Band-e-Amir in the central Afghan province of Bamiyan presents a captivating scenethat’s now empty of people. This absence of visitors is costing locals profoundly.
After two decades of war and facing its worst economic crisis, the collapse of Afghanistan’s stunted tourism industry might almost go unnoticed.
But Band-e-Amir, about 3,000 meters (9,840 feet) above sea level and a couple of hours’ drive from the Buddhist sites of Bamiyan, usually attracts thousands of visitors every year seeking a break from the conflict.
However, all changed last year as the Taliban swept through one province after another.
“It used to be very good, there were skiing programmes and competitions in the winter,” said Sayed Reza, a tourist guide who also rents out rooms to visitors.
“There used to be so many tourists in the winter and spring, but since Taliban came, in the last four months we have not seen any tourist in Band-e-Amir,” he said.
Bamiyan province was one of the rare places that remained protected from the conflict that destroyed a greater part ofAfghanistan in the past 20 years. It developed a comparativelyopen-minded culture in which mountain sports played a significant role.
Reza said that 70 to 80 families living in Band-e-Amir village depend entirely on tourism and are already suffering from visitor drop caused by the pandemic. The financial crisis after the Taliban victory has driven the last nail in the coffin.
“This year, due to the change in regime we have not seen any tourists in Band-e-Amir,” Reza said.