Climate of Afghanistan

Climate of Afghanistan

Where is the country of Afghanistan located? Afghanistan is a country in southern Asia. The country partly occupies the Iranian Plateau, also known as the Highlands of Iran. The fact that large parts of the country consist of mountains and plateaus ensures that there are great contrasts in temperatures and weather. As hot as the summers can be, as cold as the winters can be. In addition to the differences in height, this is also due to the distance from the sea, which means that there is virtually no cooling effect in summer and the cold is less tempered in winter. The southwestern half of Afghanistan has a combination of a warm desert climate and a warm steppe climate, the northeastern half changes into a cold desert climate and a cold steppe climate. The climate types are Bwh, Bwk, Bsh and Bsk according to the Köppen climate classification.

Hot summers

The summer months in Afghanistan are characterized by hot, dry days throughout the country. In the months of June, July and August it does not cool down very much at night either. The average night temperature in the lower areas is between 22 and 28 degrees Celsius, above an altitude of three thousand meters it can cool down further at night. Southwestern Afghanistan is regularly ravaged in summer by hot winds, which can reach speeds of over 150 kilometers per hour and often carry a lot of dust from Iran. This wind is called Seistan or “120-day wind”.
In Afghanistan, maximum temperatures between 36 and 43 degrees are normal in the hottest month of July. From August it slowly starts to get a little less hot, after which the switch to the cooler and wetter winter season takes place in October.

Low rainfall

Within Afghanistan the annual precipitation amounts are quite limited. Most rain falls in winter, in the north you see a small increase in the amount of precipitation in the period March-April. The capital Kabul has less than 350 millimeters of precipitation per year, Kandahar is much lower with 198 millimeters on an annual basis and the driest areas of Afghanistan, mainly to be found in the extreme southwest on the border with Iran, are even drier: Zaranj averages the fifty millimeters per year are not even and in some years the rain gauges even remain below twenty millimeters.

Climate figures

The figures below are based on long-term average climate statistics. The temperatures are displayed in degrees Celsius (°C).

Maximum temperature Minimum temperature Hours of sunshine per day Days of rainfall per month
January 5℃ -7℃ 6 2
February 6℃ -6℃ 6 3
March 12℃ 1℃ 7 10
April 19℃ 6℃ 8 11
May 24℃ 9℃ 10 8
June 30℃ 12℃ 12 1
July 32℃ 15℃ 12 2
August 32℃ 14℃ 11 1
September 29℃ 9℃ 10 1
October 22℃ 4℃ 9 2
November 15℃ -1℃ 8 4
December 8℃ -5℃ 6 3

Best time to visit Afghanistan

Do you want to know when is the best time to travel to Afghanistan? You can determine the best time to travel to a destination based on the weather and climate. In addition, there are other factors that are not directly related to the weather and that can influence the best travel periods for a travel destination. Think, for example, of holidays or festive periods, which makes traveling more interesting or not, because daily life comes to a standstill as a result. Traveling to Afghanistan means that in addition to the difficult security situation, you may also have to deal with less pleasant weather conditions. The climate of Afghanistan is not known as the best climate for travelers. The continental climate causes cold and relatively wet winters, with a peak in precipitation visible in the spring. Before the summer arrives, there is a fair amount of precipitation, especially in the months of March and April. In May, when it gets drier, the mercury rises to summer values. Because the real heat has not yet arrived, May is one of the best months to visit Afghanistan.

Watch out for the hot summer

Summer is hot in Afghanistan. Think of maximum temperatures that are often around or above forty degrees Celsius. Our advice is not to travel to most destinations within Afghanistan in the summer months. Northern Afghanistan, where the Hindu Kush Mountains are located, is a lot more pleasant. In Bamyan, which lies at an altitude of about 2500 meters above sea level, the average daytime temperature in summer is 22 to 28 degrees Celsius. The capital Kabul is a bit lower, at about 1800 meters. There the mercury rises in the afternoon to a temperature of about 28 to 35 degrees Celsius. The coolest summer days are fine.

The ideal autumn

As autumn arrives, you will enter the best travel season for Afghanistan. In September, the sharp edges of the heat are gone. It is still dry and sunny. This, in combination with the low relative humidity, ensures an excellent weather picture. The month of October may be even better in the warmer parts of Afghanistan. In the mountains it starts to cool down seriously. Night frost and snow are already possible there.

Avoid the winter

The cooler winter period in Afghanistan is better avoided. The higher you sit, the cooler it gets. In the low-lying parts it can still be pleasantly mild. As soon as you arrive in the northern half of Afghanistan, it is frost, snow and cool winds that make for unpleasant weather conditions. In practice, it turns out that the weather in the period is difficult to predict.