Richard Engel, NBC News' chief foreign correspondent, shot a segment for the Today Show on Bamyan Province and the Band-e-Amir National Park. The goals of the shoot were producing a high-profile positive story on Afghanistan and encouraging tourism in Bamyan. The shoot covered conservation efforts, including community outreach, and focused on Band-e-Amir National Park as an up-and-coming tourist hub and natural national treasure.
Band-e-Amir was officially declared Afghanistan’s first national park in April 2009. USAID is funding the ongoing project to build the park and generate tourism in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society.
The NBC crew met with Governor Sarabi of Bamyan and explored the site where the two towering, ancient Buddha statues once stood before the Taliban destroyed them in 2001. They also captured the breathtaking natural terrain and local color of Band-e-Amir, including a buzkashi match – the national sport of Afghanistan. Engel interviewed a local Afghan community leader and a park ranger, and met with a family using a new fuel-efficient stove that is part of a pilot program.