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We wouldn’t normally recommend packing your bags and heading to Afghanistan; large parts of the country remain out of reach to the ruling government, and the nation has been divided by violence for decades. But we cannot help but get pulled in by the sheer beauty and culture of the country. Also Read - US Strike Kills Al-Qaida Chief Ayman Al-Zawahri in Afghanistan; Biden Says 'Justice Delivered'

Bordered by Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Afghanistan lies right at the heart of Asia and has thus been the center of several empires over the millennia. Here is a look at the beauty that envelopes this damaged but rising country. Also Read - Hindus, Sikhs Now Safe In Country, Say Taliban; Akhundzada's Minister Meets Minorities, Promises Security

Blue Mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif


The scenic lakes of Band-e-Amir National Park

Band-e-Amir National Park, Afghanistan

The towering Minaret of Jam, the inspiration for the Qutub Minar in Delhi

jam minaret

The remains of a large old tank in the valley of Panjshir

Photo of large old tank in Panjshir in Afghanistan

The City of Screams, another name for the ancient Gholghola City

the city of screaming ghosts in afghanistan

The Citadel of Herat in the third-largest city of Afghanistan

The Citadel of Herat on October 22, 2012 in Herat, Afghanistan. Herat is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 450,000

The ancient stupa of Takht-e-Rostam in Samangan Province

Ancient Buddhist temple, Afghanistan

The Jama Masjid of Herat, built by the Ghurids

Friday Mosque of Herat, Western Afghanistan

Camping in the Wakhan valley with Afghanistan and the Pamir Mountain Range in the background

Camping in the Wakhan valley with Afghanistan in the background, Pamir Mountain Range

The mountains of Afghanistan seen in the distance from Yamchun Fort in the Wakhan Valley in Tajikistan

Yamchun Fort is the most visually prominent historic site in the Wakhan Valley in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province, Tajikistan. The mountains in the distance are in Afghanistan

Since the Soviet invasion of 1979, however, Afghanistan has been gripped by violence and chaos. It is slowly rebuilding itself, but Afghanistan’s allure has endured in literature and the tales of hippies. Before the bloodshed of the past three decades, Afghanistan was part of the original hippie trail, taking backpackers through mountain ranges and a variety of rich cultures. The Afghan people have a wildly varying culture, separated by the immense geography. And yet what unites them is their warm hospitality and charm and pride.