What's Available in Afghanistan

plastic wagon

Overloaded motorcycles, bicycles, and trucks are a common site

So what is available in Afghanistan?

A lot!

You'll be amazed, at least with what is available in Kabul.

If you are "going remote," just plan on swinging through Kabul to pick up supplies.

After you look at the categories and itemized lists below, you'll be wondering where to go shopping for these things. Well, we've put together a list of bazaars and stores where these items can be found.

Orientation to living in Afghanistan always includes an orientation to bazaar shopping, negotiating on prices, and how to figure out what food items are (packing is often in Arabic).

Here's the category list I'll be adding to - let me know if there is an item you are wondering about and don't see below, or if there is a category you think I should add.

  • Appliances
  • Food
  • Fruits and Veges
  • Health and Beauty
  • Household
  • Meat

Big and Small Appliances

Bosch, Panasonic, LG, and Siemen appliances are all available here. Other miscellaneous brands, and just about every type of machine you'd want (except I've never seen a quality mixer, and brought my Bosch Universal over, which was well worth it for all the bread and cookies I make here).

Here's what's available in appliances - I'm only listing what is reliably available for the past few years:

  • Air Conditioners
  • Blender
  • Chest freezer
  • Coffee Grinder
  • Coffee Maker
  • Dish washer
  • Espresso Machine
  • Freezer
  • Hand Mixer
  • Heaters - electric, propane, diesel
  • Inverter
  • Meat Grinder
  • Microwave
  • Refrigerator
  • Sewing Machine (computerized, electric)
  • Solar panels
  • Stereo System - Sony
  • Stoves (gas)
  • Television (flat screen)


What do I recommend you bring? Chocolate Chips, decaf coffee, cake icing gels, real vanilla extract (and/or other specialty flavorings).

Here's what's reliably available in the bazaars for the past few years:

  • Cat Food
  • Cereals - Alpen, Dorset, General Mills, Kellogs, Post
  • Cinnamon and many other spices
  • Coffee
  • Diapers
  • Dog food
  • Honey
  • Jam and Marmalade
  • Yogurt - Nestle, and French Bakery
  • Oatmeal
  • Oil - olive, corn, canola, vegetable, sunflower
  • Pasta - Italian, Iranian, U.A.E.
  • Peanut Butter
  • Potato Chips - Pringles, Lays
  • Sauces - ketchup, barbecue, HP, A-1, Soy sauce
  • Sugar: Brown, icing (powdered), plain
  • Tea - Twinnings, Lipton, Alkozai

Fruits and Veges

These are seasonal - typically, potatos, carrots, garlic, onions, and some form of lettuce is available year 'round. Everything else may be seasonal, although supplies are improving in Kabul. Occasionally, politics with Iran or Pakistan may effect supplies, but generally, it's been pretty good for the last few years.

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Cucumber
  • Garlic
  • Grapes (green seedless, red) seasonal
  • Green Beans
  • Green Pepper
  • Lettuce
  • Mangos
  • Okra
  • Olives
  • Onions (Piaz) - green, white, red - available year 'round
  • Oranges (malta or kino)- June/July/August
  • Parsnips
  • Pineapple (occasionally)
  • Pomegranites (Anar) - late September - November
  • Potatos (kachalu) - available year 'round
  • Pumpkin (kadu)- September - October (stock up for Thanksgiving)
  • Rhubarb (May)
  • Squash (kadu)- September - October
  • Spinach (palak)- year 'round
  • Strawberries (toot-e-zameenee)(April/May)
  • Tomatos Banjan-e-roomee)- year 'round
  • Zucchini (Kadu)- July - October

Health and Beauty

There is an increasing number of items available, however, it is only really this year where hair conditioner has been consistently found in the "high-end" grocery stores. The rule of thumb for health and beauty: If you really want or need an item, bring it.

Beauty Secret: I highly recommend you bring a Tweezerman corn and callous scraper - this little tool will keep the bottoms of your feet from turning black and cracked.

Makeup - some American and European brands can be found at the Kabul City Center Mall. Clinique and other brands have been somewhat available...but expensive. Always check the expiration date, but still recommended you stock up on cosmetics when you swing through Dubai on your way in or out of Kabul. There's a Sephora and other high-end cosmetic shops at the Festival City Mall in Dubai - not far from Terminal One at the airport.

Bring your hair styling tools - preferably 220volts, although some are available in Kabul.

  • Body Lotion
  • Conditioner - Pantene, Dove, Tresemme, Head and Shoulders
  • Shampoo - Baby shampoo,Pantene, Head and Shoulders, Dove
  • Shaving blades (Mach 3 turbo, etc.)
  • Shaving Cream
  • Soap - bar and liquid (Fa, Dove, Irish Spring)


  • Bake wear (think K Mart quality)
  • Bowls - stainless steel, plastic, glass
  • Cooking utensils - wooden and stainless steel
  • Cutting boards and knives
  • Laundry soap - Tide, Arial, other
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Pots and Pans
  • Ziplock storage bags


Meat in Afghanistan - it's enough to cause you to become a vegetarian. So we've included a description of how to get excellent meat, thanks to one of our industrious colleagues, determined to have good cuts for top notch grilling parties. She bought her meat grinder here in Kabul.

  • Bacon (very occasionally available at Finest in Wazir)
  • Beef - unidentified cuts (you have to know your beef to really know cuts - local butchers rate quality of beef by "soft" and "not soft." Check out our meat page for more info.
  • Chicken Breast - ask for "gosht-e murgh bedun-e ustughAn" (this means "chicken meat without the bones")
  • Ground Beef - they grind it with garlic, carrots, and other spices. See our meat page for how to get it without all that.
  • Fish - unidentifed steak and whole in the freezers, fresh available in some bazaars
  • Goat
  • Ham - only occasionally available in the freezers, and occasionally available in cans
  • Lamb
  • Prawns
  • Sardines (in can)
  • Turkey - only occasionally available in bazaars (or raise it yourself, and it will still be tiny - not available in the bazaars) Sara Lee precooked turkeys can often be found at Finest in Wazirs - I just purchased one there for $25.
  • Tuna (in can)
  • Whole Chicken

I'll add more items later - it's time for a tea break.

The Meat Page a.k.a. How to Not Become a Vegetarian while in Afghanistan

No need to copy and paste this page for printing. Just download a FREE Packing Guide - it includes a concise list of what's available

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