The Wakhan Corridor Journey - Afghanistan to Pakistan

The Wakhan Corridor Journey - Afghanistan to Pakistan

The Flight to Kabul, Then Faizabad

Out the window of our Pakistan International Airlines’ Boeing 737, we saw Afghanistan from the air. Along the Kabul River the land was green, but barren everywhere else. Flying low, we came in over the airport and touched down into a scary landscape — rusting vehicle hulks lined the runway, and old, inoperative aircraft were parked along the potholed tarmac. No real customs check here; our passports were stamped and we walked out of the airport with our bags.

In the morning, with our travel logistics still unclear, John and Amir, a Pakastani friend operating a travel agency in Kabul, went to pick up our tickets for the Kabul–Faizabad flight and arranged for a guide, Abdul Khalil. Our flight departed the following morning for the 1-hour trip to Faizabad, which had no terminal and a runway covered by linked metal plates, the kind used by militaries for quickly establishing a hard-surface runway. The capital of the Badakshan Province, Faizabad, lay along the Kokcha River.