Blair with three Afghan men during his travels in Afghanistan. "AFP PHOTO / JONNY BLAIR"
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Thousands 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.In Thursday's attack a tourist bus carrying eight Britons, three Americans and one German national came under Taliban fire as it was being escorted through a volatile district in Herat by the Afghan army.Warzone tourism is hardly limited to Afghanistan.Such tourists are the exception rather than the norm, said James Willcox, founder of another England-based adventure travel operator Untamed Borders, which organizes trips to Afghanistan, Somalia and Somaliland.As Thursday's attack overshadowed the tourism sector, the Culture Ministry said the industry was vital for Afghanistan's future.
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