Panjshir Valley is considered one of the safest and most peaceful places in Afghanistan, and as it is only about hundred kilometers from Kabul, it makes it a perfect day trip for those who want to escape the traffic and busy life of the capital city.
My couchsurfing host Naser had gathered some of his friends who were free on the weekend, and Friday morning at 7am we set off with two cars filled with good some Afgans, tea and food for a picnic that we had along the way.
The valley was guarded with checkpoints where the police welcomed us warmly after checking the car and our documents. Then we climbed onto the back of our pickup truck to have the best possible view of the beautiful scenery.
There were lots of posters along the way with portraits and slogans honoring Ahmed Shah Massoud who was a jihadi leader fighting the Taliban and the Russians trying to invade the valley. People had even covered traffic signs and the windshields of their cars with his picture, and people seemed to have big pride of him resting in a monument located in the middle of the valley which we went to visit.
The valley was one big graveyard for artillery, tanks and other military vehichles, and we stopped at some of them to take some pictures with beautiful landscape in the background. Sitting on one of the hills with my new friends and a fresh coffee in my hand I felt like I really got to suck in the scenery and the athmostphere and thought what a pity that not more people come to see this. Afghanistan has its dark sides but there is also so much beauty to be discovered and I really hope for the situation to improve so that it can grow as a tourist destination in the future.