Band-e-Amir restaurants report drop in earnings amid economic crisis

Afghanistan’s central Bamiyan province, which is steeped in cultural heritage against a backdrop of stunning landscapes continues to draw visitors from far and wide.

The Band-e-Amir national park is especially popular and a visit to the lakes would not be complete without a stop off at Kabul Restaurant, which welcomes visitors with its heart-warming local cuisine.

The popular restaurant next to the park has been owned and run by Noor Hassan for the past ten years and offers a wide variety of traditional dishes including lamb kebabs, qabuli pulao and milk rice among other dishes.

But Hassan says he has noticed a significant decline in customers over the past two years, resulting in a drop in earnings.

He said that holidays, particularly during Eid al-Adha, attracted a larger number of tourists to Band-e-Amir, and consequently, they frequent his restaurant for meals.

“The flow of visitors has not started yet. It was better during the republic. We provide qabuli, lamb kebabs, karahi, karahi-e-sada, and fried eggs; we cook these,” said Hassan.

However, many tourists expressed concerns about the condition of the road leading to Band-e-Amir, and called on the Taliban to repair the roads.

“This is my third time that I came to this restaurant, it offers delicious cuisine, its qabuli and kebabs are tasty,” said a visitor.

Local officials in Band-e-Amir said there are about 50 restaurants and hotels in the park.

Data reported under the previous government indicated that in a single year, Bamiyan welcomed over 350,000 domestic tourists and more than 600 foreign tourists, all eager to explore its attractions.

However, specific figures since the Taliban’s takeover have yet to be provided by the authorities.