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Hitching and couchsurfing across Afghanistan

  • somtam2000

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    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2004
    Location Indonesia
    Posts: 6959
    Total reviews: 24
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    Matador has a pretty interesting story about a guy who more or less overlanded from Serbia to China. What is most interesting is he couchsurfed and hitched through Afghanistan on which he says, in part:

    "Before setting out, he reviewed each of the three main overland routes through Afghanistan. Hitchhiking through the south and central parts of the country was out of the question, though a bus trip was not much safer due to the possibility that he would be kidnapped and held for ransom. Additional hazards included land mines, roadside bombs, and bandits. He did consider hitching a ride on a US consulate helicopter, but was unceremoniously turned away after being informed that they were not a taxi service."
    On couch surfing with the Taliban

    While the line about the US helicopter cracks me up, the whole piece is well worth a read -- certainly not a trip for everyone.

    #1 Posted: 11/1/2013 - 23:25

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  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6049
    Total reviews: 10

    It is people like this who do indeed end up being kidnapped or decapitated (or both sequentially). Some places you just shouldn't count on people being generally good. This is one of those places.

    #2 Posted: 12/1/2013 - 10:22

  • DSawyer

    Joined Travelfish
    9th January, 2013
    Posts: 48

    Agreed...completely foolish to travel through a war zone...people are pissed...they're not in the mood for someone window shopping in their country when rightfully or not you are a symbol of the west.People with little education,a life history of war and AK-47's are not to be taken as some exotic peoples in a far away land

    #3 Posted: 12/1/2013 - 13:53

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    He had done his research and knew what he was getting into.It's a magnificent country.It you go into a chai kanna you'll see proud young men in flowing turbans.Some of the best warriors in the world.

    #4 Posted: 13/1/2013 - 00:50

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6049
    Total reviews: 10

    Sayadian
    I am not questioning his right to go, just his judgement. I mean, I can handle myself, but I would not go there as a free lancer. And I have to say I question the responsibility of doing so. IF something goes wrong, it will be someone else who is put at risk to pull his chestnuts out of the fire. Even doing your homework, going to a place that has been embroiled in warfare for a long time and has an ongoing conflict, is not prudent. The Korengal is magnificent, but I wouldn't go until the war is long over.

    #5 Posted: 13/1/2013 - 01:29

  • DLuek

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    19th June, 2008
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 796
    Total reviews: 14

    Where he's from makes a huge difference. If he had a US or UK passport he wouldn't have even been allowed into Iran, and even if he gained entry into Afghanistan it would be suicide to carry an American or British passport there. I'm not saying it wasn't still risky for him, being Serbian, but it makes it a lot more understandable to try it, especially given his appearance. Would I do it (if I weren't American)? Probably not. But someone has to be the crazy adventurer. I definitely respect him, not so much for completing the journey itself, but more for his positive, non-arrogant attitude and the powerful sense of faith he seems to have in humanity. He did basically play by the rules, getting all the right visas and everything, unlike those American idiots who moseyed into Iranian territory and got locked up for more than a year, putting the US government under pressure. It seemed like this guy considered all of the possibilities, and it seems like he took responsibility for himself -- either that or he's just nuts. But hey, his whole story in Afghanistan (and Iran) is a happy one, so it's tough to criticize it.

    #6 Posted: 13/1/2013 - 01:57

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6049
    Total reviews: 10

    Well at least it ended happy. He's a Serb, though, and Serbs are associated with Russians... you see where that goes. Serbs also recently were involved in a lot of nastiness in the balkans. So while he might not have been as ripe a target as an American or Brit, I could still see him running into the wrong kind of Muj. Glad it worked out for him, but I'm just saying of all the places you could go, this would not be on the top of my list. Or even in the middle of my list. Of course, I want to go back to Somalia, so who am I to complain?

    #7 Posted: 13/1/2013 - 04:19

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Madmac
    You know it's policy for most States not to pay ransom and you know that the people who'd be tasked to pull his nuts out of the fire would positivly relish the opportunity to 'kick some ass' as you say.

    #8 Posted: 13/1/2013 - 06:44

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6049
    Total reviews: 10

    Sayadian - both true, but still not the most responsible behavior I can think of. I'm just sayin' here...

    #9 Posted: 13/1/2013 - 21:51

  • DSawyer

    Joined Travelfish
    9th January, 2013
    Posts: 48

    yeah I mean sure... go ahead and swim with that Great White Shark...but why?...If you have to pretend you are the same ethnicity and the same Religion and hide all of you belongings and pretend you are a deaf mute just to sneak down a dangerous road...what real enrichment are you getting?...you're just being a dare devil for no real reason...it's straight up foolishness.

    #10 Posted: 13/1/2013 - 22:34

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