After decades of struggle, Kabul has emerged bloodied but unbowed. Visitors to Afghanistan will want to tour Kabul, and seriously consider a good cheap car rental from Skyscanner.
Arrival in Kabul
There is only one car rental company at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul: Afghan Logistics Camp and Tours. The company rents late-model Toyotas, SUVs, trucks, and mini-vans, along with a driver/mechanic. The driver/mechanic is highly recommended because of the war's impact on the roads. There are other agencies slowly sprouting up, such as Takal Tourist and Travel Services, which also handles hotels and tour packages. The airport is ten miles outside of Kabul.
Driving in Kabul
Cars are driven on the right side of the road. All rental cars at Kabul Airport are automatic transmission. A driver's license is required and an International Driver's Permit (IDP) is strongly recommended. On a danger scale of one to ten, driving in Kabul is a 50. The politically unstable climate means anything from a suicide bomber to an improvised explosive device can happen at any time, and the roads are unsafe because of decades of war. According to a local joke, bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age won't be difficult because the country doesn't have far to go. A local driver is strongly recommended.
Things to See and Do in Kabul
There is one Jewish person left in Afghanistan, Zablon Simintov, and he is dedicated to protecting the last operating synagogue in Afghanistan. Although Jews lived in Afghanistan since the 500s C.E., war and emigration decimated the population until only Simintov and his arch-rival Ishaq Levin remained—and they hated each other so much they turned each other into the Taliban. Levin died naturally in 2005, and Simintov's family has emigrated to Israel. Simintov is currently focused on tracking the synagogue's stolen Torah to the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, where he believes the Taliban thief is in custody. Simintov is a living testament to the tenacity of the Jewish people in Afghanistan.
Another monument to the sheer persistance of Afghanistan is the Darul Aman Palace, which may not be accessible because of restoration plans. Originally the residence of King Amanullah Khan, the palace was the first building in a planned new capital city. In 1929, Khan was overthrown and the area fell into disrepair. The palace was set on fire in the 1970s, shelled by the mujahideen in the 1990s, and wrecked by the Taliban in 2012. It is a crumbling ruin with hints of its former glory and a monument to the last century of Afghan history.
Ganjina, a market featuring Afghan crafts, is also worth a visit. Most of the high-quality handcrafted goods are made by vulnerable women. The goods are slightly more expensive than other area markets, but the quality is better and the money goes to local female artists.
Returning the Car
Gas stations are scarce in Afghanistan, but the driver should know the location of the closest one to the airport. Note that President Donald Trump's allegation about the $43 million gas station that sells the wrong kind of gas is persistent, but not entirely accurate.
Visitors are encouraged to travel with caution!