Swan paddle boats sit at the edge of one of the six lakes that make up Band-E-Amir National Park on Sept. 6, 2009. Located in the province of the Bamiyan Buddhas, in central Afghanistan, the park was declared Afghanistan's first National Park on April 22, 2009. Its designation as a National Park will allow Afghanistan to apply for international recognition of Band-e-Amir as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Band-e-Amir has been a destination for Afghan tourists since at least the early 1950s, but tourism significantly declined during the 20 years of wars and Taliban rule.
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