The toilet paper situation in Afghanistan is precarious. In some urban parts of the country, people have access to toilet paper and modern bidets, while in most other parts, people do not. This can be attributed, in some part, to the fact that Afghanistan is a developing, war-torn country but it is also just not a part of their culture. In most parts of Afghanistan, they use what’s commonly known as an “Aftabeh“: essentially a pitcher of water that’s kept beside the toilet that you can use to clean yourself after using the restroom. Aftabehs are essentially an ancestor of the bidet and are commonly found all throughout central Asia.
What types of toilets are common in Afghanistan?
There are three types of toilets in Afghanistan: the pour-flush, the vault, and the pit latrine. The pour-flush toilet is the most common type of toilet in Afghanistan. It is a waterless toilet that uses a small amount of water to flush waste away. The vault toilet is a type of dry toilet that is often used in public places. It has a hole in the ground that is covered by a lid. The pit latrine is a type of dry toilet that is often used in rural areas. It has a pit that is dug into the ground and lined with straw or grass.
What about Travelers? How should tourists deal with it?
Afghanistan is a beautiful country with a rich history and culture…but unfortunately, it’s not a safe place to travel to at the moment, especially for Westerners (and especially Americans). If you do decide to travel to Afghanistan, it is important to be aware of the risks and take steps to minimize them…and you may also want to pack some toilet paper as access is severely limited in the country.
Across Afghanistan, many families are struggling to meet their most basic needs. One in four Afghans do not have access to clean water and one in three lacks access to proper sanitation facilities. This has a devastating impact on public health, leading to increased rates of disease and death. One way you can help improve the situation is by donating what you can to Afghan families. Here are some ways you can donate:
1. Contact your local mosque or Islamic center and inquire about donation opportunities. Many mosques collect donations for various humanitarian causes, including supporting Afghan families.
2. Get in touch with an organization that sends aid to Afghanistan. You can donate today through the following groups.
- Save The Children-Afghanistan Children Crisis Relief
- Islamic Relief USA
- World Food Program
- UNICEF Afghanistan
- Oxfam Afghanistan
Please consider donating today! And if you happen to travel to Afghanistan…maybe bring a few crates of toilet paper along with you!