Taliban officials said that at least 40,000 tourists visited the Band-e-Amir National Park in Bamiyan province in central Afghanistan only during the Eid holidays that continued from Friday to Monday.
“We hope that the number of visitors is increased and the visit continues by the end of the year,” said Saif-ul-Rahman, head of the information and culture directorate of the Taliban in Bamiyan.
Band-e-Amir is the first national park in Afghanistan which is comprised of a series of intensely blue lakes created by natural dams high in the Hindu Kush. It is a chain of six lakes in the mountainous desert of central Afghanistan.
But a 13-kilometer dusty road from the city of Bamiyan makes the trip to this nature’s beauty difficult.
Mohammad Aqil, a Kabul resident, said he visited Band-e-Amir with his brother, but he added the only issue to reach the recreational place is the dusty road.
Many activities are offered for families and women to spend quality time in Band-e-Amir.
“The municipality employees should have more attention to keeping the national park clean,” said Frozan, a Kabul resident, who says she visited Bamiyan with her family.
But Band-e-Amir officials said they are faced with a lack of facilities.
“The people are also not cooperative,” said Sayed Aman Ferozi, manager of the park. “We are faced with a lack of employees during the days when we have more visitors.”
Some foreign nationals were also among those who visited the national park, but they did not provide any figures on this.
“To ensure the security of tourists, a unit of police and intelligence forces have been stationed in Band-e-Amir because there is a need for more attention on holidays,” said Sajad Foladi, head of the tourism department in Band-e-Amir.