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War tourism in Afghanistan: adventure or reckless hedonism?

Irish tourist Jonny Blair (C-R) drinks tea and smokes shisha with three Afghan companions in Mazar-i-Sharif during his travels in AfghanistanThousands of people are fleeing the conflict roiling Afghanistan, but American backpacker John Milton recently made the reverse journey to the war-ravaged country — for a holiday. Armed with little more than travel guidebooks and an unflagging spirit of adventure, hardy bands of “war tourists” such as Milton visit Afghanistan’s pristine mountains and medieval ruins every year, ignoring warnings of kidnappings and bombings. “Visiting conflict zones and off-the-beaten-path destinations is so much more rewarding than the usual global tourist destinations,” said Milton, a 46-year-old former investment banker, who visited Afghanistan in June and has also vacationed in Somalia and North Korea.

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