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What? A Lonely Planet Guide to Afghanistan?

Yep, you read it correctly! Lonely Planet has just released one of its ubiquitous guides - Afghanistan of all places. Not your regular tourist destination......

As Spiegel On Line International reports:

"It may be a war zone, but never mind. Lonely Planet has published a new travel guide for Afghanistan, a first for the country since the 1970s. But as the long list of 'Dangers & Annoyances' shows, it's not your standard backpacker Bible.

At first glance, it looks just like the dozens of other Lonely Planet titles. Each chapter begins with the highlights of the region being presented. There are suggestions for those looking for "Roads Less Travelled." And there are useful tips for eating and sleeping. But the destination itself is a bit out of the ordinary: For the first time since Bohemians were following the Hippie Trail through Central Asia in the 1960s and 70s, travel-guide giant Lonely Planet has come out with a book on Afghanistan.

"For most Lonely Planet books, it's like you buy them, you book the flight, and you go on your trip. This one is different," says book author Paul Clammer, who also runs an Afghanistan travel Web site called Kabul Caravan. "This can only be a foundation, a starting point for the planning."

Indeed, the book is full of numerous links and contact addresses where travellers can get up-to-date information on the security situation in the country. Clammer says it is meant more for the employees of aid organizations operating in the country than for those few backpackers who might be looking for a bit of excitement."

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