Transportation - Get In
Kabul International Airport (IATA: KBL) in Kabul is the country's main access point. At the end of 2008, the old, barely functioning, refurbished terminal is now used for domestic flights, while the new terminal is operating in Japan and showing international flights.
The national airline, Ariana Afghan Airlines, flies with a small fleet of around 14 airbuses and Boeings (plus Antonovs). They have daily flights from Dubai and regular flights from Frankfurt, Islamabad, Delhi, Istanbul, Baku and Tehran. Ariana is particularly bad at scheduling, flights can be canceled or postponed without notice.
A better option is the independent operator Kam Air, which offers twice daily flights from Dubai, twice weekly flights from Delhi and weekly flights from Almaty, Istanbul and Mashad. Some of the flights on the Dubai to Kabul route stop in Herat if you prefer the country. Pamir Airways is a new private airline offering daily flights between Kabul and Dubai (USD330 admission, USD210 departure), some stop in Herat. Safi Air also offers flights between Dubai and Kabul. You are the only airline to be accredited for security in Afghanistan. Safi is the only Afghan airline that is allowed to fly to Europe and has direct flights to Frankfurt. The service is good and the planes are solid. The staff is professional.
Air Arabia flies 4 times a week from Sharjah, but they have now stopped their operations. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flies 4 times a week from Islamabad and once a week from Peshawar to Kabul. Another route may be through Tehran or Mashad in Iran. Iran Air regularly flies from Tehran to Kabul. Air India flies six flights per week from Delhi to Kabul. Turkish Airlines has also started flights between Kabul and Istanbul in 2011.
Flights to other cities like Mazar-e Sharif may be available if you can connect to the PACTEC charter company. The number of seats is very limited.
ATTENTION: The famous Khyber Pass is currently closed to anyone but Afghans or Pakistanis. Some blogs / travel forums claim that hiding in a vehicle and the bribery of border guards works, but this is very risky and could result in jail time penalties. Even more dangerous, however, is the Taliban threat near the pass, which is known to kill / kidnap Westerners and other foreigners. We strongly recommend that you do not pass the Khyber Pass.
- From Peshawar, Pakistan via the Khyber Pass to Jalalabad, in the east.
- From Quetta, Pakistan to Kandahar, in the south.
- From Mashad, Iran to Herat, in the west.
- From Uzbekistan to Mazar-e Sharif, in the north.
- From Tajikistan to Kunduz, in the northwest.
As of mid-2009, none of these routes can be considered safe.
Buses run regularly between Jalalabad and Peshawar, Pakistan. Also between Heart and Mashhad, Iran. The Afghan buses are meticulously checked by the Iranian border police in search of possible drugs, so expect delays.
Transportation - Get Around
The planes fly more or less frequently between Kabul and the capitals (Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-e Sharif). In appropriate weather, the flights are carried out daily. Most flights only leave the city in the morning before 11:00. Civil aircraft are not operated after sunset.
Between the cities of the country there is a growing public transport network. Buses run on some routes and Toyota vehicles have almost the monopoly of transportation in minivans (HiAce) and taxi (Corolla).
A new road connects Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif. The road is in good condition and is considered "relatively" safe. The journey takes at least 5 hours. The road crosses the famous Salang Mountains and crosses the Hindu Kush Mountains. If you are renting a relatively new Toyota Corolla, it would cost you about $ 100 (if negotiated by a local) for an address from Mazar Station in Kabul to any location in Mazar-i-Sharif.
There is no taximeter in much of Afghanistan. The taxis are yellow and clearly identifiable. Normally, you must make an agreement with the driver before you sit down. You can view 2 to 3 km of road in ideal conditions worth USD1 (AFN50).
Jeeps and Land Cruisers are for hire, along with drivers who speak a little English (do not keep your high hopes that you might encounter one of them). There are tour operators in Kabul who can provide a car and a guide; These people can be hired at the same international airport in Kabul. Gas stations are scarce in the field and fuel is expensive.
Paved roads are the exception, not the rule, and even these roads can be in poor condition. Outside, the capitals wait for dirt roads (which turn to mud in the rain or melted snow). The road between Kabul and Bagram is dominated by military convoys and jingle trucks.
|WARNING: Stay out of the way of military convoys. They travel slowly and are heavily armed. It is not allowed to overtake these vehicles. Too close driving or fast approaching from behind is interpreted by them as an enemy action, and OPEN FIRE.|
DO NOT try to take pictures of these vehicles or try to use your mobile phone when they are nearby. You can assume that you have an explosive detonator and you will feel threatened and it is very likely that they will open fire on you.
A new road connects Kabul with Kandahar. The road is in good condition, but it should not be considered safe, as anti - government forces such as the Taliban often plant heavy mines (bombs) next to the roads, and poor drivability. The journey takes at least 5 hours.