Geoff Hann organizes bus tours in the war-torn Afghanistan. This is his unbelievable story.
For about £3500 (or Rs 3 lakh) you could take a three-week trip into the heart of war-torn and Taliban-occupied Afghanistan. Terror tourism is not very new but what makes this three-week tourism package unique is the fact that it is run by a 79-year-old man from England! Meet Geoff Hann who runs Hinterland Travel that takes tourists around Afghanistan. Hann is an old player to the terror tourism business having set up the company in the ’70s, taking tourists into dangerous countries such as Syria, Iraq and Pakistan among others. Interestingly enough, he has never run into trouble… except last year when while driving through the province of Heart his tourist bus was ambushed by the Taliban and fired upon by grenades and machine guns.
There are 1007 incredible sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List
Many sites are inaccessible due to conflict while other are simply hard to reach
The Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan and the ancient city of Aleppo in Syria risk being lost forever
You can still see the remains of the Chimu Kingdom in Peru – if you’re quick
Even the more well-travelled among us would struggle to scratch the surface of Unesco’s World Heritage List.
Jaw-dropping scenery, ancient monuments and incredible wildlife are just a few of the 1007 sites earmarked for preservation by the organisation.
But while well-known destinations such as Machu Picchu and the Acropolis in Athens may feature prominently on many intrepid explorers’ ‘to do’ list, there are a number of stunning sites that the majority of us will simply never get to see.
JAM, Afghanistan — It is the place that launched a thousand postcards, back in the day when tourists still came in any numbers to Afghanistan: the Minaret of Jam.
Even then, few ever actually saw it, tucked into a gorge 12 hours of rough jeep track from anywhere, in a part of the country notorious for its brigandry, Ghor Province in the west-central highlands.
Now, that road passes through Taliban territory as well, and reaching it has become even harder. The track ends at Jam, and in spring and summer the river is too high to cross to the side where the minaret is.
Officials from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization were finally able to revisit the site on Nov. 18, for the first time since 2006.