The Survival Guide to Kabul©

Published internationally in July 2003 as Kabul: The Bradt Mini Guide.

First published in Kabul in September 2002 as a pamphlet.



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Kabul Golf Club

May 14 2004


The Kabul Golf Club is up by the Karga Dam just outside Kabul on the road past the Intercontinental Hotel and the University. The English speaking Pro is Mr Afzal Abdul (079 02 9011). He was the club's last pro in 1978. He had a zero handicap. The course opened in 1967, closed in 78 and has reopened. 18 holes (actually twice round!). Two sets of clubs. They assure me that the course is all safe. It used to be a demining training area.






Teeing off at Kabul Golf Course

via Syndey Morning Herald (Australia)
May 24, 2004 - 2:17PM

[Reuters] -- Perhaps one of the things you might least expect to find among the rugged outskirts of Kabul would be a nine-hole golf course.

But a golf course there is, according to reports from Reuters, and the evidence of this photograph (main picture). For a decade or so the nine-hole course, set among rugged hills and mountains on the outskirts of
Kabul, has been abandoned and the grass has turned to desert and scrub.

Highlights of the course, after teeing off on the first hole, include a bombed-out army barracks, the lack of any fairways, greens that are actually black (made from a mixture of sand and oil) and a collapsing clubhouse with no walls.

Now two players, who have been part of the on-again off-again history of the club that reflects
Afghanistan's recent past, want to rebuild it.

"During the war against the Russians we were forced to close down," said Mohammad Afzal Abdul, the 46-year-old club professional, who was a young boy when the course was built.

"When the mujahideen took over
Kabul City, we reopened. When the civil war began, we had to shut again."

Then the Taliban swept to power, and all hope of playing golf, which the hardline Islamic regime associated with wealthy Western diplomats, was lost.

"I told the Taliban that I used to work with foreigners," Abdul said. "I spent three months in a
Kabul jail."

Things were not much easier under Soviet-backed leaders of the late 1970s and 1980s.

"I was arrested by the Communists for links with foreign diplomats and spent six months in prison," said Mohammad Bashir Popal, who works with Abdul at the club and hails from the southern city of

The original course was built by the Afghans during the reign of Mohammad Zahir Shah, but moved to its present site after the king's cousin overthrew him in 1973.

It may provide new challenges to any modern player, but it used to be a lot worse. The entire area has had to be cleared of mines in recent months and three Soviet tanks and a multiple rocket launcher have been removed.

Ten foreigners have come to play at the newly opened course, and Abdul hopes many more from
Kabul's burgeoning community of aid workers, diplomats and journalists will join them.

The green fee for two rounds of the nine-hole course is 500 afghani, or $10. A year's membership will cost $60 from 2005.



كابل، افغانستان

The Survival Guide to Kabul©