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Old 24 Jun 2009
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Here is some feed back about the Khyber pass (afgh-pak border) with a motorcycle

Hi guys,
I am sorry I did a "copy paste" of what I wrote on another "traveler's site", the lonely one not to mention it, but I think it should not be a problem. I just hope it's at the right place on the site. Those who want to have a complete version of it, can read the full adventure on Terres humaines - Récits, reportages, photographies autour du monde en moto - I apologize one more time: it's in french... Hopefully, I'll have some time to put all the information about border crossing I've managed to grasp so far on the site, and maybe in English. As mentioned further, it is just a feed back, nothing more. The crossing can NOT be done from Pakistan to Afghanistan. Take care you all, and be careful on the road.

Well, to get started with, I would say don't do it, just don't. I fully acknowledge that it is completely foolish to have done it in the first place, and this post is in no way a form of encouragement to do it, but here it goes.
I am traveling alone, with a side-car (well, that's a kind of three wheels motorcycle, and a kind of give away when it comes to the tourist condition). I came from Tadjikistan, and crossed the border on the brand new bridge, on the brand new border point, all american built area, 60 kilometers from Kunduz. The road seemed pretty safe to Kunduz. However, you can NEVER be sure that what it looks or feels like is what it actually is. There has been serious taliban attacks in the Kunduz region recently... So hotel, and no tent this time (there was the mine argument for this too). To Kabul, there are a few check points, where people were quite amused with the vehicle, and kept inviting me for tea... I declined: the taliban targets are mainly police check points and afghan police or army in general. But there was important military deployment at some point too - there had been a taliban attack few hours before, apparently. The road from Kabul to Jalal Abad is quite dodgy on its first part: big mountains, and the road full of U turns that prevent you from driving properly - I mean at a decent speed.
Lots of tension about 10 kilometers from Jalal Abad, for a truck had been blown up few hours before. But trust me, if people did not tell you all this, you would hardly notice.
From Jalal Abad to Khyber, the road becomes really dodgy: the traffic is heavy, the driving chaotic (I'm talking about pakistanis trucks mainly), and the possible places for ambush quite numerous.
Khyber: dusty, busy, messy border. An incredible mess. Escort compulsory, even though it makes the trip to Peshawar even more risky. I skip the part where they wanted to put the side car much larger than the pick up at the back of it, and the one where they came back with the tools to unmount the side car...
To Peshawar, there is a lot, a lot of tension. There had been a large number of bombs the last few days, after the Swat defeat of the Talibs. A place there was no need to stay at that time with that vehicle.
Once again, I don't recommend anyone to do it. To go to India from Iran leave this option as a tempting one, but really, it's tricky, and I was immensely lucky. The risk is not so much to get killed, but definitely to get kidnapped, and that is not quite a plan one makes for his future, is it?
I hope this feed back will help, and at least, here is some ground information about crossing the Khyber pass with a vehicle.
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Old 24 Jun 2009
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Glad to hear you made it thru mate. Hope you did a lot of filming ;-)
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Old 24 Jun 2009
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Originally Posted by colebatch View Post
Hope you did a lot of filming ;-)
It was not quite yet the filming season in Afghanistan...
(sorry, I HAD to use the hanging smiley...)
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Old 25 Jun 2009
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Interesting to hear how times have changed.

I did the pass from Pakistan into Afghanistan in May '77 two-up on an RD350. No real trouble at that time apart from a bus being hijacked in front of us, the bike bouncing over the huge speedbump which had been built by the armed bandits to slow down the bus, and causing our packrack (with all luggage attached) to snap off and bounce down the road.

The bandits were not interested in us, so I picked up the packrack (still with all luggage attached), somehow balanced it on my knees and the tank, and rode back to the Pakistani border where I had it welded back on the rear of the bike.

Two hours later we were ready for the second attempt, which went without incident. Once in Afghanistan the hardest part of the ride to Kabul was avoiding the youths on hilltops herding sheep. They all carried powerful slingshots and were determined to use us as target practice.

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Old 29 Jun 2009
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Am I an idiot?

I am planning to go from Dubai to Iran in one week (spent 5 weeks there in 2007) and from there onto Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

Am I foolhardy? Somewhat of a rhetorical question I suppose but I'd like an honest answer. I keep getting told not to go to different countries, last one was Yemen, but when I am there they end up being the ones I enjoy the most.
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Old 30 Jun 2009
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Well, as a matter of fact, I loved Afghanistan. Once in Islamabad, I was thinking of going back there on public transportation and dressed properly - locally... It was too complicated, so I gave up. But yes, Afghanistan was great. However, from Iran it's a long way (I suppose you'd go to Mash'had, Herat, Mazar'e'sharif, kunduz, kabul, jalalabad and peshawar?). And the situation in the north got worse lately. Cities are pretty safe, not the country side. If you do it, don't drive at night: that's the talibans's time...
When going to such countries, one is responsible of his own life. But, the risk is to put other lives in danger (at least that's the way I see it). Whenever and wherever you stop, you get important gathering. You don't want to be blasted I suppose. Killing is not the bigest probleme: kidnapping is the main issue here. And diplomatic representations don't do much in that kind of situations and places. If you choose to go through Afghanistan, I wish you good luck, you'll need it, and if nothing happens (in terms of safety), enjoy as much as you can.
Take great care of yourself
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