The World Tourism Network has set up a “Go funding” Page to assist one of their own – a member of WTN, also a known member of the international travel and tourism community.
He is a pioneer and dreamed of establishing Afghanistan as a travel destination.
Wanted Dead or Alive by the Taliban
He is wanted dead or alive by the ruling political force in his home country, the Taliban.
He contacted World Tourism Network VP Burkhard Herbote in Germany. Burkhard contacted WTN Chairman Juergen Steinmetz in the United States with his story.
The Story of a Tourism Pioneer in Afghanistan
I’m NAME LEFT OUT from Kabul, Afghanistan.
My organization was one of the few pioneers working since 2016 to help our country Afghanistan to become an international destination for tourists.
In 2021 after the collapse of our government, the Taliban initially pushed a propaganda story about tourism continuing.
We organized more than 700 travel agencies from all over Afghanistan to come together.
Of course, tourism companies had big limitations due to the situation in our country, but our group of a few pioneers made a big difference on the world stage.
After the Taliban took over our government in 2021, they banned all our activities regarding tourism.
I am from a small community in Afghanistan of Christians and Islamic people. The Taliban had been infiltrating spies into our community to find out who did not follow Islamic rule.
In reality, everyone, Christians and Muslims, is in real danger. I live in a basement with people I trust. I constantly move from basement to basement. I go out very seldom.
Those in our community that converted from Islam to Christianity committed the most severe crime under Taliban law. Suspicion alone is enough to get killed.
I haven’t met my wife and children for 16 months.
Most of us in the travel and tourism community escaped, and I no longer have contact with them.
The Taliban killed my elder brother in September 2021.
My family has received many subpoenas from the Taliban courts because of me.
They arrested me in December. Luckily they did not realize who I was.
I was in prison with others for three days without food and water, and it was freezing at zero degrees.
I felt it would be my last breath.
I am one of the few people with a valid passport and visa for another country (The country name was left out due to security concerns.)
There are only two choices to get out of Afghanistan. Both are dangerous, and time is essential.
I am also well aware of similar restrictions in the other country. I plan to travel too, but I hope God will show me the future way. After arrival, I will apply with the UN for an official reunification with my wife and little children. The Taliban want to show a good face to the United Nations, and I hope there are chances.
However, transportation and paying for security are substantial financial problems for me. Not just because it is hard to get foreign currency here but because I do not have the money.
I got 200 Dollars from my father-in-law to get the visa, and I have to return the money to him by the end of this month. I don’t know how. He also is not in an ideal financial situation like most people here.
To be able to go into a safer place, I have to get the airline ticket to LEFT OUT. This means I need to get at least 1000 Dollars as soon as possible. Of course, I would pay the money back as soon as I have a chance to do so.
Please also do not mention my name until I am at my destination and secure.
Also, for security reasons, I must delete this text after sending it to you and will always delete further communication.
Please let me know whether the World Tourism Network can help.
WTN was quick to issue this appeal to members everywhere:
World Tourism Network calls on members and the travel and tourism industry to support this member and his family and allow him to start a better life.
Juergen Steinmetz, Chairman World Tourism Network
WTN contacted a member in the receiving country who is willing to assist. This will ensure support for this Afghani WTN member once he reaches his destination. Funds will be needed to support this member until he gets back on his feet. Therefore WTN put a target of $2000.00 to the go founding initiative. Timing is essential because the receiving country also has restrictions when receiving money from many countries.
You can contribute to the WTN Members in Crisis SOS Fund:
eTurboNews will match any funding with a free advertising credit. World Tourism Network would provide a free membership to any non-member helping with this Emergency initiative.
The Taliban is a fundamentalist Islamic militant group that originated in Afghanistan in the early 1990s. The group’s ideology is based on a strict interpretation of Sunni Islam, and they seek to establish a government based on their interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia law.
The Taliban rose to power in Afghanistan in 1996 after a period of civil war. They ruled the country until they were ousted by a US-led coalition in 2001 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. During their rule, the Taliban enforced a harsh version of Sharia law, including restrictions on women’s rights and severe punishments for those who disobeyed their rules.
Since their ousting, the Taliban has continued to fight against the Afghan government and coalition forces, carrying out attacks and bombings in various parts of the country. In recent years, they have made significant gains and now control large swathes of the country.
In August 2021, the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan as the US and coalition forces withdrew after 20 years of military involvement.
The fall of Kabul, the Afghan capital, resulted in chaos and a mass exodus of Afghan citizens trying to flee the country. The Taliban has promised to form an inclusive government. Still, their actions since taking control have been met with international condemnation, with concerns about the safety and rights of women and minorities.
Afghanistan has a rich history, diverse culture, stunning landscapes, and many attractions that could appeal to tourists. However, Afghanistan’s tourism industry has been severely affected due to years of war, political instability, and security concerns.
Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif offer historical landmarks, such as the ancient Buddhas of Bamiyan, the Blue Mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif, and the Kabul Museum, which houses a collection of ancient artifacts and art.
Afghanistan’s natural beauty is also a draw for tourists. The country has some of the world’s most breathtaking mountain ranges, including the Hindu Kush and the Pamir Mountains, and various wildlife, such as snow leopards and Marco Polo sheep.
Afghanistan is known for its traditional handicrafts, including textiles, carpets, pottery, and jewelry. Visitors can explore local markets and bazaars to purchase unique souvenirs.
Despite the potential for tourism in Afghanistan, safety and security concerns remain a significant challenge. It is essential for travelers to carefully consider the risks and take appropriate safety measures, including staying up-to-date on the latest travel advisories and consulting with trusted local guides.
Overall, while Afghanistan has the potential to be a fascinating destination for travelers, the current security situation in the country makes it a challenging destination for tourism.
For more information on World Tourism Network, membership, and the SOS Fund, go to www.wtn.travel