Wednesday, June 29, 2011

[kl-bogel] Afghanistan, travel notes, day 3



Yesterday the whole day spent on the road, traveling north to Mazar-i-Sharif, the fourth largest city in Afghanistan. The road is very complicated and goes through the Salang Pass and takes 8 hours. On the road met the American military, they have struck the wheel and the column stopped. Unfortunately, they were not allowed to shoot, and generally have not been configured for the friendship.



01. On the morning discharged from the hotel and went to watch Kabul. I bought some postcards with old photographs to prepare a series of comparative photographs of Kabul.


02. Shop hides.


03. Old photographer. On his box, he does a pretty passable pictures, sorry have to wait the result.


04. And this is a local imitation on RedBul.


05. We left the city, began to look for a taxi in Mazar-i-Sharif. Go to it about 400 miles, but the road goes through the pass and takes at least 8 hours. The taxi driver agreed to take over $ 105. Some guy with a gun walked and drove all the way, after a few minutes on it will drive the government's motorcade.


06. Along the road from the grave green flags, as I said, here are buried soldiers of martyrs.


07. Here the mountains are good, not so hot at the bottom.


08. The traffic is very busy, hundreds of trucks weaved through the narrow roads.


09. We talked with our driver. His name is Mohamed Ahous, his exact age, he does not remember about 65-70 years. By the age of Mohammed remembers the Soviet occupation and can compare the two occupying regime, which he worked half-way in between smoking cannabis. Comparing Russian and American, he stands on the Russian side, and claims that they were good fighters, and 10 years of Russian occupation of Afghanistan gave incomparably more than the same 10 years of occupation the U.S.. Mohamed poses the example of a system of employment, which was used by Russian. The work was for everyone. There were a lot of jobs, and even a man of his age he could find work. Now he is no use to anyone. Americans almost never hire local and if you hire young people.

With this system creates a lot of Russian, said he drove Salang Tunnel. This is a good example of what made the Russian. At the same time, the Americans have not done any project of this scale and can not even fix the tunnel. According to Mohamed, if he do not tunnel collapse in a couple of years, but nobody cares about it.

Comparing the occupation army, he believes that Russian soldiers were much better fighters. Not having all that equipment, which are the Americans, Russian maintained order in the cities, rather than holed up in bases. Now the country's troops are from forty countries, but they can not even provide security in Kabul. In Russian drones was not and was not a serious technological advantage over the mujahedeen, and the whole country was against them, but the Russian resisted. He knows how hard it was, under what conditions they had to fight and if only for a Russian deserve much more respect.


10. Trucks leisurely overtake each other. If in a car the trip takes 8 hours, truck rides for two days.


11. Sometimes the trucks create traffic jams. Between them try to maneuver cars.


12. Kamaz)


13. Salang - a strategic mountain pass in Afghanistan in the Hindu Kush, which connects the northern and central part of the country.


14. The entrance to the Salang tunnel.


15. Soviet specialists in the area of ​​the pass was laid tunnel 2.7 km long.


16. During the Afghan war in the tunnel there were two cases of mass death of Soviet soldiers. February 23, 1980 in a car accident the Soviet convoy stopped and 16 soldiers choked by exhaust fumes. Another even more ambitious tragedy happened on 3 November 1982, when as a result of arising out of the tunnel tube in the tunnel killed more than 176 people.


17. During the civil war between the Northern Alliance and Taliban Salang was a natural barrier, and in 1997 the tunnel was blown up by Dostum's orders to prevent the promotion of the Taliban in the north. In 2002, after reunification the tunnel was reopened. Now the state of the tunnel lamentable. Asphalt it is almost gone. Most of the roads destroyed, there is no light inside is very dusty and can not see anything. Toward the end there is a broken asphalt, which watered to make it less dust.


18. In addition to the main tunnel on the way there's such galleries.


19. They are constantly going to jams, a lot of dust.


20.


21. That looks like this road to the north.


22. In one of the tunnels, we found a mass brawl drivers who did not share the road.


23.


24.


25. After the pass the drivers stop to wash their cars.


26. And yourself.


27. And also a little snack.


28. And pray.


29. On the way to find the column of Americans.


30. The column is quite large, mostly construction equipment.


31. It's very interesting they were going. Periodically, the column stopped and the partitions off the whole way, creating a large traffic jam. As explained by our guide, made it to the terrorists was not possible to drive up close to them.


32.


33. The Americans have stopped, they struck the wheel, and I went to them to get acquainted.


34. Unfortunately, they were not very friendly. Took me for a German, was asked what I'm doing here. I honestly admitted that the Russian tourist. The captain, with whom I spoke was very surprised and wished me luck. Categorically not allowed to shoot. I had to withdraw and use telephoto. Near the soldiers look very cool. All in some cameras, sensors, weapons, flashlights, etc., like robots.


35. Local residents are advised to stay away from the American colonies, very often they are attacking.


36.


37.


38. Peasants harvest.


39.


40.


41.


42.


44.


45. Throughout the remnants of military hardware. Russian is not love, because when left left the mountains of his technique. After the withdrawal of our troops have used this technique, the Taliban against the civilian population. Now in different cities of Afghanistan is a huge dump of the old Soviet technology, and it is in good condition.


46. Stopped by for a visit to the Taliban.


47. After the Americans came here, the traffic in heroin in Russia increased by 2 times.


48. This boy 8 years old, he pride of the family. In his heart he knows 8 2 chapters from the Koran! "This growing mujahid" - boasts a father.


49. This is a standard checkpoint. It is sometimes under fire. Recently the situation has deteriorated in the area. Once the most quiet and peaceful corner of Afghanistan becomes a place of fighting the Taliban invaders. Americans are restoring order in the south, and many Taliban are moving closer to the north to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. 3 weeks ago they blew up a bridge, a month ago cut off his head to some Australians, sometimes kidnapped foreign workers.


50. Over military bases and raised here, such airships, they installed cameras to monitor the situation with the height around the base.


51. By the way, the area through which we drove, very nice. The roads fill the field, making terraces and cultivated rice. Very unusual landscape in Afghanistan. I asked him to stop to make a couple of shots, but the driver refused to stop here. If the Taliban would see that he picked up the Europeans, it can shoot. Goes to everyone who has to deal with NATO, the UN and just white people. The Taliban does not understand, who helps our drivers to tourists or the military.


52. Checkpoints are located in each of 3-5 km. At night they close, the soldiers are hiding in bunkers and the road is not controlled by anyone.


53. The closer we approached the Mazar-e-Sharif, the hotter the air became. Despite the night outside was about 35 degrees. As it turned out - this is pretty cool for this place, the day temperature rises to nearly 50.


54.


55. at some point, the road had tired of our driver and he calmly took out his pocket from the tiles of hashish the size of a small piece of chocolate. Also, calmly, he began to crumble it over his clothes, then took a cigarette and confident movements poured out her whole tobacco in the ashtray, falling asleep in her pieces of hashish and lit it. All this happened at a speed of 120 km per hour.


In Mazar-e Sharif, we arrived late at night. Long rode along the dusty road. The driver could not find the way, ask the locals where to find the "best hotel in town." The best hotel was a three-story house surrounded by a high fence topped with barbed wire and coated with sand bags. Around the house were watching people with guns. Behind the fence on the porch smoking pilots and mechanics from Tyumen, they work here at the UN.

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