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Travel Warning WARNING: Nuristan is particularly unsafe due to its proximity to the volatile Pakistan border and the presence of Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives. While it was once a trekking destination, it would be unwise to travel here without government or NGO protection. As of Sep 2018, the UK Foreign Office advise against all travel to all districts in Nuristan.
Government travel advisories
(Information last updated Sep 2018)

Nuristan is in the northeast part of Afghanistan.


Nuristan is one of the most remote areas on Earth, right up in the Hindu Kush mountains. The area used to be called Kafiristan, land of unbelievers, until it was converted to Islam at swordpoint in the 19th century and became known as Nuristan, land of light.

Kipling wrote of it in The Man Who Would be King. In his day, no Europeans had been there. John Huston made a film based on the book, with Sean Connery and Michael Caine in lead roles. It is a fine movie and the geography is about right, but the culture is more from Kipling's imagination than anything related to the actual place.

Another wonderful book about the area is Eric Newby's A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, long out of print but worth hunting for. When Newby and a friend visited Nuristan in the 1950s, they were the second or third European expedition ever to reach it.


  • kashi - how are you
  • lesem -fine
  • ow - water
  • boodi - bread
  • korangi - where are you going

Get in[edit]

To even get close to Nuristan, you need a four-wheel drive vehicle with a winch and other rough-country preparation.

Get around[edit]

For most of the area, you need to hike or ride a horse or donkey. A local guide is near mandatory.



There are some peaks of interest to mountain climbers.




Stay safe[edit]

In addition to the warning box above, Nuristan poses risks of altitude sickness.

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