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thoughts on how to get from NYC to KABUL, Afghanistan?

does anyone have thoughts on how to get from NYC to KABUL, Afghanistan? I am embedding with a milatry unit in early september for 10 days and I need to plan the trip.
Basically I have to get to the Bagram Air Field (BAF) on september 3rd to check in. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
-Chad

by chad hunt at 2006-05-20 12:32:15 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) new york city , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

how about… Duh, buying a ticket and getting on an airplane?

if you’re just going for the embed, you can try to get the military flight from Baltimore, but that’ll take you a lot of time in transfers since they don’t usually don’t do direct flights. military transfer means you can be stuck on a base for a couple of days on every transfer, and there are 2 or 3 from the US to Bagram.
where’s your embed unit?
the simplest, is to call your travel agent and get a flight. it’s very simple. Kabul is an international airport, there are flights to Turkey, Germany, Qatar, Dubai and more…
i wouldn’t recommend swimming, Afghanistan doesn’t have a beach.
G.

by [former member] | 20 May 2006 12:05 | Qalat, Afghanistan | | Report spam→
oh boy, someone wore their smarty pants today. I just wanted to get some thoughts on the whole thing since this is my first time traveling to Kabul. thanks for the advice.

by chad hunt | 20 May 2006 12:05 | new york city, United States | | Report spam→
David, it’s Zabul not Zabal… and i’m in Qalat, smack in the middle of it. where are you going to?
G.

by [former member] | 20 May 2006 13:05 | Qalat, Afghanistan | | Report spam→
if for some reason it is too difficult to get transportation with the military, you might also consider Ariana Afghan Airways – i believe they have flights from ny.
good luck!
s

by [former member] | 20 May 2006 16:05 | Miami, United States | | Report spam→
David, how come you deleted your last post? i have it in my mailbox, so remind me to show it you if you ever need any help around here.

Chad: Ariana doesn’t reach NY, but you can pick them up from Frankfurt or Istanbul. i’d rather use qatar or dubai.
G

by [former member] | 21 May 2006 00:05 | Qalat, Afghanistan | | Report spam→
The easiest way to get to Kabul from NYC is to take the Emirates direct flight to Dubai, spend the night there, and then hop on an early Ariana or Kam Air flight to Kabul the next morning. I’ve done the flight through Turkey, Germany and Dubai and, trust me, through Dubai is easiest. Good luck. Once you’re in Kabul you can get to Bagram either with the military or with your own driver.

Katherine

by Katherine Kiviat | 21 May 2006 01:05 | Jerusalem, Israel | | Report spam→
pick up outgoing steamer at alexandria, go through suez canal, arrive in karachi. take railroad up to peshawar. check in with the district commissioner. hire elephants and pathan tribesmen. get on the grand trunk road. trek through khyber pass. fight engagement with locals at jalalabad. try to survive ambush at gandamak (last stand of the 44th infantry, 1842). if you’re still alive at this point, proceed to cabool. award yourself victoria cross.

by [former member] | 21 May 2006 11:05 | New York, NY, United States | | Report spam→
This question is one that only a very old man asks. Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long long paths, but I am not anywhere. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.

THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN
Carlos Castaneda

by Barry Milyovsky | 22 May 2006 21:05 | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
and i thought i’d be a smartass by suggesting flying….. like the overland version, sounds like a good
photo opportunity. ;)

by julia s. ferdinand | 23 May 2006 08:05 | chiang mai, Thailand | | Report spam→
go as slowly as possible. what i mean is dont just get off a flight in kabul and jump on the first transport to your unit.spend as much time as you can on the street,with local people.talk to them,eat with them,immerse your self in them.in fact,if its not too dangerous or beaureaucratically impossible these days,i would get a cheap flight to pakistan and travel by local transport to kabul.

by Michael Bowring | 23 May 2006 08:05 | Belgrade, Serbia | | Report spam→
here’s the 1979 version, starting point Moscow. convene politboro while drunk. after many bottles of vodka, decide at 4 am to invade. fly to Termez (lovely town once known as “the asshole of the soviet union”), gather central asian reservists and uh, a few hundred tanks and helicopters. cross Amu Darya (Oxus) river. charge south, try to prevent conscripts from drinking hydralic fluid out of tanks, and raise the hammer and sickle over Kabul. assasinate not one, but two afghan presidents and one american ambassador with spetsnaz squads. watch out for stinger missiles. when it’s time to go home, try not to get slaughtered inside salang tunnel. did somebody mention, “our fraternal internaltionalist duty”?

by [former member] | 23 May 2006 11:05 | New York, NY, United States | | Report spam→
Chad, your best deal is to fly via Dubai and then to Bagram and then you know where you are going in Afghanistan, go easy guys some people are trying to make a living by risking their necks….

Good luck

by Raffi Kirdi | 23 May 2006 12:05 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Chad, your best deal is to fly via Dubai and then to Bagram and then you know where you are going in Afghanistan, go easy guys some people are trying to make a living by risking their necks….

Good luck

by Raffi Kirdi | 23 May 2006 12:05 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Chad,

Fly via Dubai, then take Kam Air to Kabul. www.Flykamair.com. You have to pay tickets in cash at Dnata 24-hour service counter at Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 2. It’s about $385.

by Lisa Liu | 24 May 2006 19:05 | Los Angeles, United States | | Report spam→
From Nancy Dupree’s “An Historical Guide To Afghanistan,” Afghan Tourist Organization Publication #5, 2nd ed., 1977
Airlines:
Ariana Afghan Airlines. Booking offices: next to Kabul Hotel, tel. 24731; Hotel Intercontinental, tel. 31851. To: Tehran, Beirut, Istanbul, Frankfort, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, London; Amritsar, New Delhi; Tashkent.
Aeroflot (USSR). Booking office on Chicken Street, tel. 22030. To: Tashkent, Moscow.
Bakhtar Afghan Airlines. Booking office next to Kabul Hotel, tel. 24451. Kabul to Bamiyan and return; Kabul to Herat (Herat to Kabul) via Mazar-i-Sharif and Maimana; or via Chakhcharan; Kabul to Maimana and return; Herat to Qala-i-Naw; Kunduz to Faizabad.
Indian Airlines. Booking office south of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tel. 22527. To: Amritsar, New Delhi.
Iran Air. Booking office next to Park Hotel, tel. 25071. To: Tehran.
Pakistan International Airlines. Booking office in front of Spinzar Hotel in Pashtani Tajerati Bank, tel: 22155, 22166. To: Peshawar.

Addenda
Since this manuscript went to press the following changes have occurred:

Ariana Airlines: weekly flight to Moscow.

(consulting the map of Kabul also shows offices for Air France, Alitalia, BOAC, Lufthansa, SAS, Thai Air, and TWA)

by [former member] | 24 May 2006 19:05 | New York, NY, United States | | Report spam→
note also the following:
KABUL, capital of Afghanistan since 1776, is a fast-growing city where tall modern buildings nuzzle against bustling bazaars and wide avenues filled with brillant flowing turbans, gaily striped chapans, mini-skirted school girls, a multitude of handsome faces and streams of whizzing traffic.”

For those in this spirit, it is as W.G. Sebald presented, like reading the 1939 Warsaw telephone book.
Bon voyage, Mr. Chad Hunt.

by [former member] | 24 May 2006 19:05 | New York, NY, United States | | Report spam→
If you do end up going with a military flight, make sure you get an entry visa stamped in your passport once you land in Afghanistan. Not having one could create unnecessary complications for you once you decide to leave that lovely country. Also, given the current state of the Ataturk International Airport, I wouldn’d suggest flying through Turkey. Dubai is a much better choice.
Cheers and good luck,
Levon

by Levon Sevunts | 24 May 2006 20:05 | Ottawa, Canada | | Report spam→
Thanks for all the advice, some helpful, some not so helpful BUT entertaining.

by chad hunt | 30 May 2006 20:05 | new york city, United States | | Report spam→
Chad dont forget the value of entertainment in this world!!
I do have an agent that I use for Middle East trips. 8 out of 10 times she beats my prices….so she is very good. Give me a call when you get a chance.

by [former member] | 31 May 2006 09:05 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
you could also fly to pakistan and travel in through the kyber pass from peshawar, which is an awesome journey. Once over the border just get a minibus from there to kabul.

i did it last year and can recommend it.

by Adam Dean | 31 May 2006 09:05 | Dalian, China | | Report spam→
Our staffers head into Afghanistan on regular rotations with Dubai typically being the last point of departure before landing in Kabul. There are several ways to enter Afghanistan, but for those who have traveled through Dubai it is probably clear why we choose this route over the others. On a recent trip, however, my reporter and I traveled first to Islamabad and entered Afghanistan via PAK airlines – great service with apparently safer aircraft than Ariana. One thing to be prepared for at Dubai International Airport: one of our staffers had problems getting body armor into Dubai during a layover there while en route to Afghanistan. He made an agreement with airport security to store his armor at the airport and then collect it the next day before catching his flight forward. Other staffers report no problems with Dubai airport security and body armor.

As Katherine pointed out, the dicey part of your trip will be linking up with the military at Bagram. You will most likely embed with the military at their headquarters in Kabul, receive your “official” credentials which do nothing for you, then hire your own driver and take one of two possible main roads to the airfield about 45 minutes – 1 hour outside of Kabul. Highly recommend driving during daylight hours on the main road that is WELL traveled.

You will most likely need to spend the night in Kabul…recommend the Mustafa, well-known among journalists, or one of Kabul’s newest, flashiest and perhaps most Western hotels the 130-room Safi Landmark located in the Kabul City Centre shopping mall.

Obviously, keep tabs on the latest security reports from Kabul. Our team currently in Kabul is basically bunkered down in their hotel waiting for the riots to clear before heading to the airport and other Western press have been attacked. This is so unfortunate, because as many journalists now know Afghans are generally gracious hosts and peaceful people. Wouldn’t hesitate to return at all – embedded or not.

That said, must strongly disagree with adamdean’s post: “you could also fly to pakistan and travel in through the kyber pass from peshawar, which is an awesome journey. Once over the border just get a minibus from there to kabul. i did it last year and can recommend it.” Sorry, but this is a fool’s journey. Too many trigger-happy operators (on both sides of the fight) patrol this route. Combat action has been intense at times and I recommend giving this region some additional time to settle before making this journey.

by M. Scott Mahaskey | 31 May 2006 10:05 | Washington DC, United States | | Report spam→
mr. hunt,
i wrote and quoted not just to entertain but to give a historical context. regardless of one’s politics or opinions, there’s no doubt that once the US gets directly involved in a faraway place like Afghanistan, the footprint is large and an entire attendant culture of bureaucracy, of embedding, of public relations, of a “bubble,” gets formed.
For those of us who travelled to afghanistan before 9/11 and the US intervention (whole-heartedly justified IMHO, BTW) it was a country seemingly so remote, so steeped in mythology and history and the scars of ongoing civil war, that it was a land haunted, resonant in tragedy and beauty, all the cliches, sure, but overwhelming nonetheless. it seemed entirely improbable and unlikely that the US would get into that war. the northern alliance under massoud was hanging on by a thread. the taliban with their medieval sensibilities were out of mad max or science fiction. the wrecked soviet armor littering the sides of highways, the blown up bridges, the rickety helicopters, the child soldiers, were all signs of what life might be after an apocalypse, which was exactly what had happened there.
so these days, i read posts like yours and others, nonchalant talk of embeds, of new hotels, of body armor, and i can’t help but want to evoke some of what has gone on before. Alexander The Great fought there two thousand years ago. The British fought three colonial wars there, (1839, 1881, 1919), the Russians one (1979-88) and now it is our turn. By all means get the most out of your embed. But Afghanistan is not Iraq. You can still move around (cautiously, of course), you can figure out where you want to go, you can enjoy yourself. Nancy Dupree’s guide was published right before the Soviet war. It is one of the very best books you can get. I quoted the airline info out of it, and the description of Kabul’s mini-skirted school girls, to give a sense that it wasn’t always so horrible. that once, you could be a barefoot hippie and hitch-hike from istanbul to bangkok, smoke some amazing hashish in afghanistan, play your guitar, sleep on floors, listen to Ahmad Zahir, and not worry at all about war.

by [former member] | 31 May 2006 13:05 | New York, NY, United States | | Report spam→
Do they canoe there Alan?

by [former member] | 31 May 2006 21:05 | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→
andy, all right, you win! i’ll never tease you about the canoe again!
(andy survived hurricane katrina on board a canoe, and i was making fun of him for it. actually i wasn’t. but he thinks i was…)
there are rivers in afghanistan but i don’t know if any of them except the Amu Darya are navigable by boat. they would be more the white water rafting type of river. i think you could do that on the panjsher river, in the valley. interesting idea….

by [former member] | 31 May 2006 21:05 | New York, NY, United States | | Report spam→
I thought it was funny……

by [former member] | 31 May 2006 21:05 | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→
we’re going to go canoeing in afghanistan. it’s not that crazy. one of my friends took a mountain bike there (i wonder if the kryptonite lock company guarantees against bike theft in kabul?) and there is that amazing afghan sport of buzkashi, where riders on horse compete for the carcass of a sheep. that dead sheep, so i’m told, is the origin of all ball games where the ball is an inflated animal skin. now, here’s rudyard kipling, on the river disaster (46 drowned due to incompetence, not combat) of the 10th Hussars, March 1879, Second Anglo-Afghan War:
.
Ford o’ Kabul River
.
by Rudyard Kipling
.

Kabul town’s by Kabul river—
Blow the bugle, draw the sword—
There I lef’ my mate for ever,
Wet an’ drippin’ by the ford.
      Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
          Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark!
  There’s the river up and brimmin’, an’ there’s ’arf a squadron swimmin’
’Cross the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark.

Kabul town’s a blasted place—
Blow the bugle, draw the sword—
’Strewth I sha’n’t forget ’is face
   Wet an’ drippin’ by the ford!
     Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
         Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark!
     Keep the crossing-stakes beside you, an’ they will surely guide you
         ’Cross the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark.

Kabul town is sun and dust—
Blow the bugle, draw the sword—
I’d ha’ sooner drownded fust
   ’Stead of ’im beside the ford.
     Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
         Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark!
      You can ’ear the ’orses threshin’, you can ’ear the men a-splashin’,
         ’Cross the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark.

Kabul town was ours to take—
Blow the bugle, draw the sword—
I’d ha’ left it for ’is sake—
  ’Im that left me by the ford.
      Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
          Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark!
      It’s none so bloomin’ dry there; ain’t you never comin’ nigh there,
          ’Cross the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark?

Kabul town’ll go to hell—
Blow the bugle, draw the sword—
’Fore I see him ’live an’ well—
   ’Im the best beside the ford.
     Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
        Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark!
     Gawd ’elp ’em if they blunder, for their boots’ll pull ’em under,
       By the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark.

Turn your ’orse from Kabul town—
   Blow the bugle, draw the sword—
’Im an’ ’arf my troop is down,
   Down an’ drownded by the ford.
     Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
        Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark!
     There’s the river low an’ fallin’, but it ain’t no use o’ callin’
        ’Cross the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark.

by [former member] | 31 May 2006 22:05 (ed. May 31 2006) | New York, NY, United States | | Report spam→

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Participants

chad hunt, photography chad hunt
photography
(www.chadhuntphotography)
New York City , United States
Katherine Kiviat, Photographer Katherine Kiviat
Photographer
New York City , United States ( JFK )
Barry Milyovsky, totally unprofessional Barry Milyovsky
totally unprofessional
(emperor of ice cream )
New York , United States
julia s. ferdinand, photographer julia s. ferdinand
photographer
Chiang Mai , Thailand ( CNX )
Michael Bowring, photographer Michael Bowring
photographer
Belgrade , Serbia
Raffi  Kirdi, Photojournalist Raffi Kirdi
Photojournalist
Paris , France
En route to Lisbon (ETA: Apr 22 2014 ).
Lisa Liu, Lisa Liu
Los Angeles , United States
Levon Sevunts, Writer/Journalist/Produce Levon Sevunts
Writer/Journalist/Produce
Montreal , Canada
Adam Dean, Freelance Photographer Adam Dean
Freelance Photographer
(Panos Pictures)
Beijing , China
M. Scott Mahaskey, Director of Photography M. Scott Mahaskey
Director of Photography
Washington, D.C. , United States ( DCA )


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