The extremely sad news out of Afghanistan recently has brought back memories of my 10 day traverse of that benighted country back in the day before the Soviets invaded and made a mess of it.
At the time, I had only a small fold out bellows camera with a couple of rolls of film to support what would become a trip around the world. The following are the only legacy images to have survived. What I would have given to have had a modern digital camera to capture the trip of a lifetime.
Thinking of travelling rough in Afghanistan?? As they say on TV, “Kids, don’t try this at home!!”
My entry into Afghanistan was clinging precariously atop a speeding oil tanker in the biting cold of the early desert morning.
“Bobby flagged a diesel down….just before it rained…and we rode it all the way to …..Herat!!”
Our escape via the Kyber Pass was interrupted by a brief stop which provided the brief distraction of a traditional cobra and mongoose fight. No time to tarry as we had to be out of the Pass by sundown to avoid gunfire from bandits.
How bad was my Afghan experience?? Upon entry into Pakistan, we swore that we would never go back into that lawless land. I was now firmly committed to a trip around the world. Travel back to Europe through Afghanistan was out of the question. We considered ourselves lucky to have survived.
A cash payment of one US dollar gave you a “ticket to ride” for 24 hours. Travel wise, this was the most efficient use of time and money. The buses had no air conditioning and hence we wrapped ourselves in newspapers at night for insulation and sweated it out during the day.
Afghan refugee camp on the outskirts of Islamabad that I snapped much latter in 1993 during an official visit when I was responsible for trade relations with Pakistan.
Pray for Afghanistan!!