This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
TRANSPOR T

216 GETTING THERE & AWAY

•• Land

Onward transport from Torkham is plen- tiful, and you’ll probably get mobbed by touts so keep control of your bags. Travelling straight through, if you leave Peshawar at 8am, you should arrive in Kabul by around 4pm. See p185 for transport options once in Afghanistan. Afghan and Pakistani authorities make

regular pronouncements on establishing a direct Peshawar–Jalalabad bus service, but at the time of research, there had only been a few erratic departures. It’s not known whether foreigners will be allowed to take this service if it runs regularly in the future.

Tajikistan

There are three crossing points between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, two of which are in Badakhshan. The busiest and most accessible is at Shir Khan Bandar near Kun- duz. The Badakhshan border posts are at Ishkashim and Khorog. From Shir Khan Bandar there is a daily

ferry (US$10) across the Amu Darya to the Tajik town of Panj-e Payon (Nizhniy Panj on old maps). The ferry leaves Panj-e Payon at 10am, and Shir Khan Bandar after lunch. There’s no ferry on Sundays. A new bridge has been built across the river here that will make this border crossing quicker, and was due to be inaugurated as we went to press. There are daily shared taxis between Panj-

e Payon to Dushanbe (TJS50, four hours). On the Afghan side, it’s one hour by shared taxi to Kunduz (80Afg). With a very early start, it’s just about possible to travel over- land between Dushanbe and Kabul in one long day.

The borders in Badakhshan are easier

crossing into Afghanistan. The Tajik side of the border is the Gorno–Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) for which a special permit is required. This is normally only available in Dushanbe, but anecdotal evidence suggests that persistence can some- times persuade the Tajik embassy in Kabul to issue the necessary paperwork. Contact Great Game Travel (see opposite) which also has an office in Dushanbe, and can help ar- range GBAO permits. The border crossing at Ishkashim is open Monday to Thursday. There’s a bridge across the Panj River here, a couple of kilometres from both towns. There’s a daily minibus between Afghan Ishkashim to Faizabad

lonelyplanet.com

(600Afg, eight hours). On the Tajik side there are a couple of homestays, and onward transport to Khorog (TJS20, three hours). The largest town in Tajik Badakhshan,

Khorog also has a border crossing, as well an Afghan consulate. The border crossing is a bridge over the Panj. While a good road connects Khorog to the rest of Tajikistan, transport connections are extremely scant on the Afghan side. If you don’t have your own vehicle, hire is very expensive. A bad road leads west past Lake Shewa to Faizabad, but despite what some maps say, there’s no road south along the river to Ishkashim.

Turkmenistan

There are two official border crossings on the Afghan–Turkmen border. Torghundi in Afghanistan to Serkhetabat in Turkmenistan (Kushka or Gushgi on some maps) is the border crossing more commonly used, due to its proximity to Herat. A more obscure al- ternative is at Imam Nazar, near Andkhoi. The Turkmen authorities love paper- work. To enter the country overland, you need to have your point of entry marked on your visa. For tourist visas, you gener- ally also have to be met at the border by an official guide. From Herat, shared taxis run irregularly

to Torghundi, and you’ll probably end up having to hire one outright (1000Afg, two hours). The road is poorly maintained and may be problematic in winter. Make sure the driver takes you to the actual border, which is 4km past the town. There’s a cus- toms fee of 550Afg. The Turkmen border is a 1.5km walk past the Afghan post, and the waiting customs officials will probably take your luggage apart. There’s an entry tax of US$10 (with US$1 bank fee). You must also declare all foreign currency and register with the police on arrival – keep the receipt as it’s checked when leaving the country. There’s no accommodation at Serkheta- bat, so the best option is to head to Mary. As the border is regarded as sensitive by the Turkmen authorities, a special permit from the capital is required to stop over- night in the area. There are road and rail links to Mary (the railway actually extends a few kilometres into Afghanistan for freight trains).

The border post in the flat steppe at Imam Nazar is far more remote, and not

lonelyplanet.com

even marked on all maps. The exact demar- cation of the border has become disputed in recent years due to the shifting Amu Darya and Murghab rivers, with Turkmenistan now claiming areas that have always been Afghan. As a result, cross-border traffic has dwindled to a trickle, but is still possible for the adventurous. There is no public transport linking And-

khoi to Imam Nazar or on to Kerki once you’re in Turkmenistan, and as there’s barely a road a 4WD is recommended. Anticipate paying around 1000Afg for the two-hour trip. Wet conditions can make this route very tough in spring and into summer. The Turkmen border post is a 2.5km walk past Afghan immigration. Once in, take whatever transport is available to Kerki, another two hours on a rough and rolling track.

Uzbekistan

The Friendship Bridge across the Amu Darya links Hairatan in Afghanistan to Ter- miz in Uzbekistan. Its name became some- thing of a bad joke when it turned into the main invasion route into Afghanistan for the Red Army in 1979. Although technically an open border, Uzbekistan’s police-state para- noia can make crossing here something of an unknown quantity at times. The border was officially opened to tour-

ist traffic in 2005, but the message doesn’t seem to have reached all the Uzbek officials at the bridge. While we’ve had several re- ports of independent crossing here with- out problems, a few have reported that only people on accredited business were being allowed to enter or leave Uzbekistan here. For humanitarian workers, this involves a letter being sent to the Termiz UN of- fice, where your details are accredited and passed on to the border officials who put your name on a list of those approved to cross the border on that particular date. If the border continues to be subject to the whims of the bureaucrats, we suggest contacting the Uzbek embassy in Kabul before heading to the border, and asking for written permission to cross to Termiz. If you’re in Uzbekistan, talk to a reliable Tashkent travel agency or contact the Of-

fice of Visas & Registration (OVIR; x132 6570) in

Tashkent directly. Assuming the border is open, the easi- est way to get to Hairatan is from Mazar-e

GET TING THERE & AWAY •• Land 217

Sharif by private taxi (500Afg, 30 minutes). Shared taxis are scarce. The Amu Darya is wide here and it takes around 10 minutes to walk across the bridge. The Uzbek border guards are pretty surly. The bridge is 10km from the centre of Termiz, and there are a few marshrutka (minibuses) that make the run into town (S200, 20 minutes). Termiz has several interesting Buddhist and Islamic sites that make lingering a day worthwhile, but note that its location on a sensitive border means you need to register with OVIR on arrival if staying overnight.

TOURS

The changeable nature of Afghanistan means that travelling with a reliable tour operator can sometimes be a better option than going independently. Always ask about the company’s security procedures before booking.

Afghanistan

Afghan Logistics & Tours (Pvt) Ltd (x070 277408/

079 9391 462; www.afghanlogisticstours.com; House 106, Street 1, Charahi Ansari, Shahr-e Nau, Kabul) Experienced operator with individual and group tours across the country. Also offer translators and vehicle hire. Great Game Travel (x079 9489 120/077 9489 120; www.greatgametravel.com; Street 3/1 House 3, Proje Wazirabad, Proje Taimani, Kabul) High-quality secure jeep tours and mountain trekking mainly in northern Afghani- stan. Also has offices in Faizabad and Dushanbe.

UK

Hinterland (x01883 743584; www.hinterlandtravel.com) Rugged overland trips crossing Afghanistan from Iran to Pakistan. Live! Travel (x020 8894 6104; www.live-travel.com; 120 Hounslow Rd, Twickenham, TW2 7HB) Tailor-made cultural trips. Wild Frontiers (x020 7736 3968; www.wildfrontiers .co.uk; Unit 6, Townmead Business Centre, William Morris Way, London SW6 2SZ) Group tours to north Afghanistan, including Badakhshan.

USA

Distant Horizons (x800 333 1240; www.distant -horizons.com; 350 Elm Avenue Long Beach, CA 90802) Cultural tours of Afghanistan, often in conjunction with Tajikistan or Pakistan. Reality Tours (x415 255 7296; www.globalexchange .org; 2017 Mission Street #303, San Francisco, CA 94110) Alternative travel, centred on visiting community groups and NGOs working in Afghanistan.

TRANSPOR T Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123
Produced with Yudu - www.yudu.com