Ultimatly disappointed that I’d have to miss out on the opportunity of visiting Afghanistan. I didn’t want to let it go without hearing from someone who lives in the country – this is what they said
Thanks for the email and for doing some homework on Afghanistan before an attempt! The quick answer is that I DO NOT recommend cycling through the country. It is an almost certain possibility that you would be kidnapped. I am working here with an NGO and at the moment I am involved with security for our NGO and I see everyday (through a reporting system) the hazards that foreigners face in this country. There is a very real threat of kidnapping and robbery and many of the roads have illegal and illegitimate roadblocks set up by those impersonating goverment or police personnel.
My recommendation (after just now talking with my security advisor who has been here in Afgh for 16 years) is to take the northern route through the ‘stans’ and if you want to ride some of Afghanistan to come into the country (if you can get a visa) from Taj. at Ishkashem, then ride up the Wakhan corridor towards China as far as you like, then backtrack and exit the country via the same entry point and continue on east towards China. Once you are in China, he said there is the Karakoram highway that will take you South into Pakistan.
Another option is to enter Afghanistan North of Mazar-e-Sharif and then fly commercially to Kabul and then from Kabul to Islamabad where you can pick up the road south down to Lahore and on to India.
I hope this helps you at least a little bit. Sorry to put the last couple nails in the coffin of your Afghanistan idea but it just would NOT be a good idea (and security is getting worse at the moment).
It’s not really what I wanted to here, I think the emphasis is on ‘NOT’ makes it very clear and I’d happily take advice from someone who lives in the country and really knows what its like.
Following his suggestion, skirting around the Stani countries seems a nice idea and then entering through Northern Pakistan along the Karakoram highway sounds really good especially passing through the Himalayas. It’s not going to be the most straightforward route, but atleast it will be reassuring that I have a better chance of getting through safely…This means I will be doing a u-turn and will be going through Turkmenistan – where I will have to cross the span of the country (300 Miles) in 5 days. Normally that would scare me, but travelling on a rickshaw, well it does. The rest of the route will be relatively more easily through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and then passing through the Himalayas into North Pakistan.