The security situation in Iraqi Kurdistan is different from the rest of Iraq. There is a heavy police and military presence but it is generally safer than the rest of the country. There are however things to be aware of and it is important to find up-to date information before you travel. Please note that you travel at your own risk and there is no guarantee of the accuracy of this information.
Avoiding Mosul and Kyrkuk
Share taxis sometimes travel close to the cities Mosul and Kyrkuk, which are outside of Iraqi Kurdistan and very dangerous, with bombings and attacks against foreigners. The fastest route between Dohuk to Erbil goes through the outskirts of Mosul so make sure you ascertain that your taxi will take a safe route. To definitely avoid Mosul you can take the 'high road' from Dohuk to Erbil through to mountains, described here.
It is a similar situation when travelling between Erbil and Sylaymaniyha, with some routes passing close to Kyrkuk.
There are a lot of mines in Iraqi Kurdistan left behind from the Iran-Iraq war. There are numerous de-mining operations but mines remain a major hazzard. Stay on marked paths when hiking and always seek local advice.
The Iraqi Kurdistan/Iran Border Area
In 2009, three American travellers were arrested while hiking near the Iraqi Kurdistan/Iran border. Joe Scarangella visited the area in 2012 which you can read about in the Experiences section.
Probably the biggest threat to your safety is reckless taxi drivers. Many of the roads are unmarked and drivers frequently overtake on blind corners. Wear your seat belt. If you find a good taxi driver it might be worth getting their contact details so you can travel with them again.
You will encounter frequent police checkpoints on the roads. Some interest might be shown in you as a foreigner but most of them you will be waved through.
It is a good idea to have your passport with you (not in your backpack in the trunk...) as you might be asked for it quite frequently.
Some travel advisories make a distinction between Iraqi Kurdistan and the rest of the country but most do not and this could affect your travel insurance.
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