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  #1  
Old 21 Apr 2008
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Anyone mad enough to ride to Kabul?

Hi all,

Probably a very dumb idea but has anyone done any research on riding into Afghanistan from say Peshawar to Kabul?

Curious if the carnet system works in Afghanistan.

Blame the Chinese for shutting out foreign bikers without extorting way too much money. Up yours China by the way.

Send the threads spinning my way.

Duncan.
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  #2  
Old 21 Apr 2008
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Havent been there, so I dont really know... but our country has a peacekeeping-force operating there, and even though they are armed, and move around in armored vehicles, there are still incidents frequently, and a few soldiers have been killed in the past 6 months. Of course troops may be targeted more easily than civilians, but you just never know. And then theres the possibility of being kidnapped, which they seem to do more frequently nowadays.

It is still practically a warzone, so I dont think the idea of travelling independently in such a place would be a good idea.

I´d much rather pay to get into China, even if I dont like their government....... or go through Pakistan, which I did about half a year ago, and it was just great (at the time). But even there things have changed a lot since then, so you should find out about the current situation before going. I wouldnt have gone there right after Bhutto was killed, or at the time of the election.
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  #3  
Old 21 Apr 2008
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There are no guarantees

This is one case:-
BBC NEWS | South Asia | Pakistan envoy 'held by Taleban'

there will be others, but they won't make the news media.
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  #4  
Old 21 Apr 2008
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Met an Australian guy Pakistan in 2006 who rode from Herat via Kabul to Kabul on a shiny R 1200 GS in a BMW suit. I think he was active here as well afair - however, he told me that he felt _very_ uncomfortable (targeted) and preferred to ride at night in the end. I also met several travellers by car (and one pushbiker) neither of whom (except one couple in a Landrover and that crazy pushbiker) did feel too comfortable in Afghanistan.

That was in summer 2006, when the situation in Afghanistan was calm anyway.

I wouldn't try try it now.

Lars
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  #5  
Old 21 Apr 2008
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Maybe this summer :)

I want to visit Afghanistan this summer and maybe I will.

The north and central Afghanistan are relatively safer than the south but still not safe as we would like to.

Road A1 Herat-Qandahar-Kabul is a suiciede!

Road A77 Herat-Chaghcharan-Navor-Kabul, just might be "safe enugh"

Road from Kabul to Kholm and Mazar-e Sharif is "safe" to travel.

Road from Kabul-Peshawar is used daily very extensively and should be the "safest" road in Afghanistan

Anti-American (read foreign) attitude is high and rising.
So You just can't know how will people react on a traveller.
Talibans are not as bad as Americans present them to the world.

A few short facts abouth Taliban (learner):

1. Taliban regime got strong because, America choose to help them as they where most capable force in Afghanistan, that was when Russians where there. While and after Russian "invasion" Talibans where fighting with other Warlords and gained control over Kabul.

2. They are obligated to give help to a "stranger".
Definiton of "stranger" is another thing.

3. As foreign troops are working on lowering drug production in Afghanistan. Which is main sourece of income for many people living there, because of that non-talibans are joining the Talibans.
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  #6  
Old 21 Apr 2008
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  #7  
Old 21 Apr 2008
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I went to Afghanistan in early 2000 - the Taliban started issuing some tourist visas in Peshawar and I had the most amazing 8 days. I never had the nerve to take the bike in (even an Enfield Bullet) - there was just no information around at the time to suggest whether this would be suicidal. When I came back out I recommended it as safe to a Dutch biker who then went in and all the way round to Herat via the southern section of the ring road. That's a big no no now of course.

I suspect like most other people who have been it is a place that sticks in your mind and lodges in your heart. Without any doubt it's the most remarkable few days of travel I've ever experienced. Saw the brutality of the Taliban at first hand beating people in the street who were not at prayers and experienced hospitality in the form of a city tour and an anti-aircraft gun live firing display down in Ghazni. There was no music in the restaurants, just birds in cages to break the silence. In Kabul an old Soviet tank would come rumbling through the streets in the morning to signify that people could come out at the end of the curfew. I never saw the Buddhas - flipped the coin and went south from Kabul instead. Big regret now. Was always followed by big crowds in the smaller towns - they loved having their photos taken, even the Taliban. At that time the country felt safe, the Taliban for all their evils actually seemed a positive influence in terms of basic security.

Times change and now tourists are targets. I would love to go back but I'll have to wait a while..... It would be great to hear if people are going in and it's ok. Best information comes from the road as always.
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  #8  
Old 22 Apr 2008
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Hi Matt, I am shipping from Dubai to Karachi next week and am thinking the same as you. My other reserch to 'adventour tourist companies' in Kabul have canceled all trips except Wakan Valley.

If Kabul is out, I am still going to say STUFF IT to the chinese and fly to Uzbek, or Tajik. spoke with a guy yesterday who flew Bishkek to Islamabad for $300 - him and moto.

I am also looking into shipping the bike in a closed truck to Kabul from the border, and driving into Tajik from there.

Afganistan doesn't recogniae the carnet.

Cheers,
Rene
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  #9  
Old 23 Apr 2008
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Hi Rene,

Good to see you are still on the road. I really don't know the current mood on the ground there so can do nothing other than suggest it may be best left for another day. All I know is that there's a heck of a lot to see once it does open up again. Maybe if you give Jalalabad and Kabul a miss from Pakistan you can get in to Mazar and possibly down to Herat from Uzbekistan.

I'll be really keen to hear how you get on. What about just parking up and going by bus?

Suerte,

Matt
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  #10  
Old 23 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nixa View Post
Talibans are not as bad as Americans present them to the world.

A few short facts abouth Taliban (learner):

1. Taliban regime got strong because, America choose to help them as they where most capable force in Afghanistan, that was when Russians where there. While and after Russian "invasion" Talibans where fighting with other Warlords and gained control over Kabul.

2. They are obligated to give help to a "stranger".
Definiton of "stranger" is another thing.

3. As foreign troops are working on lowering drug production in Afghanistan. Which is main sourece of income for many people living there, because of that non-talibans are joining the Talibans.
Agree, I was in Islamabad, Rawalpindi & Fatahjang, in 1991, not really that far from Peshawar love to visit Kabul but didnt have the chance. But during my trip there I was still young & were on a bus! Not bike.

Hope Its will get better again someday
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  #11  
Old 23 Apr 2008
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Warning for mines

There are Dutch troups in Afganistan too and of all the casualties among Dutch soldiers, most were from mines on the road and not from fighting.
Mines don't see the difference between a soldier or a traveler, no matter how friendly you are.
The last two casualties were from a explosive device that had been in the ground for a long time and was detonated by the third vehicle in a convoy.

Think twice and if you go anyway, be very careful !
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  #12  
Old 23 Apr 2008
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Curious about the air freight from Islammabad to Bishtek.

Like the responses on this thread.

It's a fascinating part of the world though pretty damn dangerous at times.
Was wondering who to contact in regards to shipping motorbikes up to Kyrgyzstan from Pakistan. At $300 for person and bike, sounds like a better deal than getting ripped of by Chinese tour agencies.

Duncan.
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  #13  
Old 23 Apr 2008
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Flight info Bishkek to Delhi, India. Galaxy Air. $300. I don't know who flies from Pak -Kyrg, but I will pitch up at the airport and find out.




Here is some info from an adventure touring company in kabul i received 5 minutes ago.

**************************************************
My first response to the idea of crossing Afghanistan on motorbike is that it is absolutely bad idea in the current security environment. In the last two months on the road between Peshawar and Kabul the Pakistani ambassador was kidnapped and a convoy of 40+ petrol tankers was all destroyed. Currently there is ongoing construction along much of this road which diverts traffic through small villages and towns that are loyal to the Taliban and would like nothing more than to kidnap a foreigner as happened a couple of months ago. The road north out of Kabul is slightly better, but still risky. We have canceled all our tours for this spring due to the declining security situation in central and northern Afghanistan. Of special concern is the stretch between Pul-i-Khumri and Sher Khan Bandar where there is an active armed group attempting to kidnap foreigners.

If you insist on riding in Afghanistan, the only sane plan would be for you to put the motorcycle on a lorry to Kabul and after it has cleared customs you can take a flight to Kabul. Please note that the customs office is on of the most corrupt offices and not located in a secure part of the city. Therefore, you will have to contract the services of a company that can provide customs clearing services and then bring the motorcycle to your hotel with the appropriate paperwork before proceeding on your journey.

Once you have you cleared you motorcycle through customs, then you will want to leave at first light and drive all the way to the Uzbek border crossing at Termez/Hairaton. If all goes well you should be able to be at the border by mid afternoon in time to cross out to Uzbekistan. I have crossed this border multiple times, and the Uzbek side is a hassle. They will go through absolutely everything in your possession.

Prior to coming to Afghanistan you will need to get updated security information to ensure that it is still possible to make the trip.

Regards,

Jonathan Bean
Operations Director
The Great Game Travel Company Afghanistan
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  #14  
Old 23 Apr 2008
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Thumbs up Sensible advice IMO

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rene Cormier View Post
**************************************************
My first response to the idea of crossing Afghanistan on motorbike is that it is absolutely bad idea in the current security environment. In the last two months on the road between Peshawar and Kabul the Pakistani ambassador was kidnapped and a convoy of 40+ petrol tankers was all destroyed. Currently there is ongoing construction along much of this road which diverts traffic through small villages and towns that are loyal to the Taliban and would like nothing more than to kidnap a foreigner as happened a couple of months ago. The road north out of Kabul is slightly better, but still risky. We have canceled all our tours for this spring due to the declining security situation in central and northern Afghanistan. Of special concern is the stretch between Pul-i-Khumri and Sher Khan Bandar where there is an active armed group attempting to kidnap foreigners.

If you insist on riding in Afghanistan, the only sane plan would be for you to put the motorcycle on a lorry to Kabul and after it has cleared customs you can take a flight to Kabul. Please note that the customs office is on of the most corrupt offices and not located in a secure part of the city. Therefore, you will have to contract the services of a company that can provide customs clearing services and then bring the motorcycle to your hotel with the appropriate paperwork before proceeding on your journey.

Once you have you cleared you motorcycle through customs, then you will want to leave at first light and drive all the way to the Uzbek border crossing at Termez/Hairaton. If all goes well you should be able to be at the border by mid afternoon in time to cross out to Uzbekistan. I have crossed this border multiple times, and the Uzbek side is a hassle. They will go through absolutely everything in your possession.

Prior to coming to Afghanistan you will need to get updated security information to ensure that it is still possible to make the trip.

Regards,

Jonathan Bean
Operations Director
The Great Game Travel Company Afghanistan
The red highlighted bit is here:-
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
This is one case:-
BBC NEWS | South Asia | Pakistan envoy 'held by Taleban'

there will be others, but they won't make the news media.
Jonathan Bean's advice is at least up to date and should not be ignored IMO. There is enough adventure to be had, without deliberately entering areas of war/conflict.
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  #15  
Old 24 Apr 2008
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Crikey Rene. That sounds like the answer! Safe trip to the Stans.
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