Leaving Afghanistan

Sorry to say, the time has come for you to prepare leaving Afghanistan. There may be a few "minefields" you have to navigate, in order to leave well (pardon the pun, I couldn't resist!).

First, the legal stuff. Make sure you have your exit card from the country - it's the card you received when you first came in, and should have a passport picture of you affixed. Unfortunately, foreigners don't get to keep these cards for their personal scrapbooks.

Right now, you cannot ship rugs and wood furniture out of the country - any of those items have to be in your checked baggage (good luck). Even then, make sure you have the receipt for the rug or other valuables, showing that you are not taking antiques out.

DHL and Fedex are the two main ways to get personal items shipped out, unless you are with other high-powered companies here.

The culture side: It appears Afghan friends find it easy to ask for large loans when the foreigner is departing, promising to pay the foreigner back through the office. My advice - either give a gift or just decline a loan in a non-direct way, citing "family needs." Don't expect any loan you have outstanding with an Afghan will ever be repaid to you once you leave the country.

Prepare for many Afghans and friends to wait until the absolutely last minute to come and expect you to serve them tea in an almost bare house/apartment/room. Try to plan to leave gracefully by planning for these unexpected guests.

Need to get rid of stuff in a hurry? Refugees are desperate and increasing, due to the war, but make sure you have a trustworthy expat or Afghan friend who will give them to the truly needy.

Questions or comments on this page about the sad day of leaving Afghanistan - go ahead and contact me and I'll do my best to answer.

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