AFGHANISTAN TRIP REPORT, MAY-JUNE 2022

It’s done, I’m back, I did it. Afghanistan, 25 May - 21 June 2022.

Since I live in Peshawar, I crossed into Afghanistan through Torkham with a multiple-entry Pakistani visa extension. Torkham is chaotic, people trying to sneak through both sides and guards caning the people they catch. First Taliban I talk to on the Afghan side saw my Australian passport, laughed, asked me why I’m here, and then jokes ‘it’s dangerous here for you’ while miming cocking a gun and putting it to my head. Nice intro. Passed border formalities, taken into one of the offices, asked more straightforward questions about why I’m there, drank some tea. The Talibs on the border were all interested in why I was there, and actually asked to take photos with me.

Met a driver I’d pre-arranged to take me to Kabul. The drive to Kabul is breathtaking, jagged rock faces and huge mountains on either side of the road. About 10 checkpoints on the way to Kabul. Got invited inside for lunch with some Talibs at one of the bigger ones. No special permission or handler assigned and I was allowed to move freely. 5 hours later, arrive in Kabul. Kabul is a huge city and very developed, with parts that unironically look like Vegas or Dubai, and then very underdeveloped parts. Heavy security architecture left over from yank days, concrete barriers everywhere. Moving throughout the city is easy, apart from the traffic jams, and every area is open. Some checkpoints lie before important places like the airport and diplomatic areas. U.S. embassy, picrel, has been redecorated with the Taliban banner and images of the U.S. flag toppling like dominos.

  1. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    There’s lots to do in Kabul, but my highlights after about a week there cumulatively were Sakhi Shrine, a gorgeous Shia mosque near Kabul university, Morad Khan and the bazaar areas, in which there’s a bunch of leftover American stuff for sale, from t-shirts to candy to military food, and Wazir Akbar Khan Park which gives you a great view over all of the city.

    Tried to take a day trip to some buddhist ruins in Logar province called Mes Aynak, but got turned back at the last checkpoint because there’s some Chinese mining operation going on there. Talib on the post invited me inside to a nearby house for lunch with other talibs instead. Just a bunch of young guys really, most of them younger than me (22). Very curious about what I was doing, and actually asked a lot of questions about christianity which was a common theme when I was talking to Talibs. They never tried to force me to accept islam or anything, a few of them just politely asked that I learn more about it. They told me that they’re happy that foreigners are coming to afghanistan, as long as they continue to come peacefully. They let me take photos with their guns; I asked them what one of them was, and he said ‘M16, like PUBG,’ and another one joked ‘yeah we’re playing PUBG but in real life.’

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      Kandahar - local bus from Kabul was 9 hours overnight. All the main roads connecting cities are now safe. Taliban checkpoints every hour or so where someone boards the bus, asks a few people for their I.Ds., and looks around. Kandahar city is quite small. I first went to the culture office to register my visit, and the boss there was very friendly and gave me a permission letter to move freely and photograph everywhere. I think this was largely helped by the fact I speak Pashto, though. Best thing in Kandahar is Khirqa Sharifa, the shrine of Muhammad’s cloak. It’s only open on Thursdays, and I was allowed to photograph and video inside thanks to the above letter. The main bazaar is good also, lots of Taliban perch for sale. People in Kandahar were very welcoming, and I was invited into many people’s homes for tea and a meal. I actually faced no hostility from anyone the entire trip; some people mentioned Australian atrocities in Uruzgan though, and advised me not to go there. Fair enough. Simple, mat-on-floor guest rooms are $5-$10 a night. PKR is also widely accepted in Kandahar due to its vicinity to Spin-Boldak.

      From Kandahar, I drove to Lashkar Gah, Helmand. Helmand was the province most affected by the war and old, bombed out buildings line the road (approx 3 hours) from Kandahar to Lashkar. Fairly bleak scenery on the drive, a few mountains but otherwise just open fields. Quite a few abandoned NATO bases near Lashkar. Lashkar itself contains nothing notable and is very underdeveloped. Standard bazaar, and that’s about it. Registered at the culture office, people wanted to take photos with me again, I got gifted a book on Afghan culture, and assigned a Talib security guard for my time in Helmand. Still moved freely, he was just there as a precautionary measure I guess.

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        About an hour from Lashkar is Bost Qala, a bunch of ancient ruins in the open desert. An incredible brickwork arch and a well(?) that descends 50m into the ground are thousands of years old, and I had the site all to myself to roam around and explore openly. By far one of the highlights of my trip and one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Over the next few days I visited Sangin, which was apparently the deadliest town in Afghanistan for UK troops. Bullet holes in the walls of most buildings, still very fresh rubble and destroyed buildings on either side of the street. Got really sick one day and had to have IV painkillers I a clinic that was in a building that was half caved in after being hit by an airstrike, rebar sticking out everywhere and the front of the place was just rubble. Mad diarreah and had to shit in an open field with an IV line still in me. Not much fun. Swam in the Helmand river, my Taliban guard taught me how to skip stones properly. A really interesting and nice guy, he was from Sangin himself and had never even visited Lashkar Gah let alone Kabul, since when the war was on you couldn’t move between villages or go to the city. He told me stories about how he fought in villages and fired at NATO forces. Talking with him was quite surreal. A few other interesting things in Helmand - a huge dam, war ruins, and a few more historical ruins. Stayed with my local friends.

        Lashkar to Herat is about a 6 hour drive. Herat looks like a different country. No rubbish on the side of the road, immaculately clean. Abundant greenery, looks like a forrest in the middle of the city in some places. Very liberal, blokes in skinny jeans and t-shirts and women alone with faces uncovered. Lots of history; huge old citadel, a shrine to a Sufi guy I forgot the name of, and the blue mosque which is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. Almost completely Persian speaking. Should be top of the list if you go to Afghanistan.

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous

          Mazar - quite boring actually and far too hot in June. Hazrat Ali (the blue shrine) is breathtaking though, and worth seeing. Ancient city of Balkh has some fantastic stuff, but all in all I didn’t think it was worth the 12 hour drive there and back from Kabul. The road is completely shit and is just mud and dust for a large stretch. The drive should have taken 7 hours maximum. Lots of interesting ethnicities there though, Hazaras, Uzbeks, and some others from the mountainous areas and Wakhan.

          Bamyan - gorgeous. 5 hour drive from Kabul. Good quality road in and mind-blowing scenery. Buddhas are right in the middle of the city, which is essentially a two-road town. You can see them fine without actually entering the site but I wanted to go in. Taliban have actually banned foreigners from the site currently, but I told the, I was Nuristani (light skinned ethnicity from the mountains) and let me in. I think the ticket guy knew I wasn’t but didn’t really care. A Talib patrolling the place heard me speak English in a video I was making though and started grilling me. I essentially told him in Pashto to leave it and walked away quickly. Guess he wasn’t too bothered. The site itself is great and you can walk right up to the outlines and go inside, as well as explore all the caves next to them. The other thing I did in Bamyan was go to Shahr-e-zohak, about 30 min drive from the centre. It’s ruins of an old fort used by Genghis khan which are sitting on the top of a hill. Really cool, and pretty good condition for its age. Heavy security leading into bamyan though, and talibs with RPGs on checkpoints which I hadn’t seen elsewhere.

          • 3 months ago
            Anonymous

            Actually arrived back in Peshawar about 3 hours before the earthquake took place. Came back through Torkham too which was smooth enough, but rocked up to my apartment and fucking ISI were waiting for me and grilled me on why I went to Afg, why I speak Pashto etc. Nothing much came of it tho. Security everywhere I went was good. I’m not sure what the deal is with Panjshir, everyone I spoke to told me something different.

            Souvenirs - got a bunch of American war medals from some street vendors, a load of lapis lazuli, and a handmade war rug from a carpet shop feat. Ak47 and map of afghanistan, and a few other little amulets and stones.

            I went to a few other places but they are the main ones. I apologise for the shite formatting of this, my mind is in shambles atm and I’m a bit ill. Please ask me anything else you want to know. Peace.

            • 3 months ago
              Anonymous

              Not everyone is ISI you dipshit. They were probably from IB or FIA. Big spooks don't glow that clear.

            • 3 months ago
              Anonymous

              why do you speak pashto?

  2. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    Noone cares Miles. Blow your head off with a shotgun

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      I don't think miles is Australian and Pashto speaking, this actually seems like a non-larp.

      Ausbro, can you start postinh photos? Cheers.

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      Miles posts reek of undiagnosed cluster B personality traits, this is an actual travelogue.

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      Miles went to Afghanistan and spent his whole trip taking pictures of security checkpoints before cowering in a safe house and crying on social media.

      This anon has made informative posts about Pakistan before—shit I know is true, because I’ve also been there.

      Good thread, OP. Glad you finally learned Pashto—and that there are still some non retards left on this board.

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        cheers

  3. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    Pics?

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      i'll make a big drive of them in a bit

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      I don't think miles is Australian and Pashto speaking, this actually seems like a non-larp.

      Ausbro, can you start postinh photos? Cheers.

      how do i get past the fucking spam filter and post a link to the google drive

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        >google drive
        But why? Just post them here.

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous

          no dude i'm not uploading 40 separate photos here i have stuff to do

          (b i t)(d o t)ly(slash)3HMhTwD

          that'll have to do

          • 3 months ago
            Anonymous

            >i have stuff to do
            please, we all know that isn't true
            sighsee is an imageboard, key word image
            upload some images of your adventure or fuck off, seriously

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous

          Taliban doesn't know how to use google drive

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        (b i t)(d o t)ly(slash)3HMhTwD

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous

          looks cool mate

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous

          Hopefully the Google forums are right and you can't see which Google accounts viewed your album. Anyways, thanks for sharing! Very interesting to see so many American remnants in Afghanistan.

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous

          great pics. what is that shit in the little plastic baggie? Hashish?

          • 3 months ago
            Anonymous

            yeah hashish. tennis ball-sized block for like $5

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous

          Great pics anon. That rug, my sides.

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous

          Post pics here dickboat I ain’t typing that shit
          >got stuff to do
          No you don’t, you’re living in front of your computer refreshing for (You)s

  4. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    Thanks for the trip report anon. Fun read. Glad to hear you went there, I recall your previous posts too.

    Did you feel real threat at any point (besides finding glowies on your stay)?
    Did you see any other tourist during your trip?
    Do you think the whole ordeal would have been possible if you didn't speak any Pashto?
    How long did you study the language before your trip? How hard is it from 1 to 10?

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      >Did you feel real threat at any point (besides finding glowies on your stay)?
      not once actually. a bit tense when i was crossing the border initially because i was obviously unsure of what to expect and i was hyperalert, but that faded quickly. i actually felt really at home in the whole country.
      >Did you see any other tourist during your trip?
      no one. i heard of a canadian guy who was there though, but didn't see him.
      >Do you think the whole ordeal would have been possible if you didn't speak any Pashto?
      maybe possible technically, but nowhere near as fun, in depth, or yielding. just explaining yourself in english at every checkpoint would be really difficult and maybe suHispanicious, but even just small things like taxis and ordering food would put a downer on the trip too.
      >How long did you study the language before your trip? How hard is it from 1 to 10?
      little over a year. if mandarin chinese is a 10, pashto has to be an 8-9. i've heard it mentioned in the same sentence as chinese in terms of language difficulty. but i've picked it up pretty well and living in peshawar has helped a lot. regional accent variance is a real pain, though.

      looks cool mate

      cheers bro

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        How did you structure your self-study? I have some experience self-studying russian, but I didnt start from scratch. I've been considering starting with persian, and then moving to Iran for some time to study. Not sure I want to enroll in an official language school, a private tutor seems like a better choice, but the visa and maybe finding an apartment might be a problem then.

  5. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing OP. What I'm curious about though is, do you think you'll have any issues going back to your home country because you travelled to Afghanistan?

  6. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    What's the visa process like?

  7. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    Any pictures, OP?

  8. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    >hey guys I saw all this awesome shit!
    >but I didn't take any pictures! 😀
    why post at all, goofball?

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      dumb speed reader.

  9. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    Great stuff, keep posting. Pics too

  10. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    Read the whole thing and saw the pics, looks like a great trip (except for the IV), almost makes me want to go myself. Cheers lad

  11. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    oh no OP, it looks like someone took a dookie in your gyro.

  12. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    Did you interact with many or even any women while you were there?

    How much was your budget and could you get travel insurance?

  13. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    how is the swimming there?

  14. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    >not even one
    Post some goddamn pics you fuckin queer

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