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Traveling in Afghanistan has not been safe for quite some time — it’s long been a land of conquerors, from the time of Alexander the Great all the way through the U.

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S. invasion. And while it still sits at a Level 4 travel advisory, the country does have beauty we rarely get to see beyond the usual depictions of citizen soldiers and wailing, siren-sounding cities.

The mountainous country sits along the famous Silk Road, with notable architectural sites at Khyber Pass along the way. The Valley of Paghman was once the site of homes belonging to some of the wealthiest Afghanis, and the stunning scenery says exactly why. The capital city of Kabul is full of beautiful mosques, as well as the sprawling oasis of Babur’s Gardens. Then there’s the “Red City” of Shahr-i-Zohak, where red-brick fortresses stick out from the rocky cliff faces like they’re part of the mountain itself.

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