Driving to Kunduz from Pul-i-Kumri:
Of all of the NGOs at work in Afghanistan, I saw the H.A.L.O. Trust in the most places doing the most work. After the H.A.L.O. Trust has cleared a space of land mines, they paint their logo on a feature in the area to indicate that the area is now clear. Some have criticized the H.A.L.O. Trust for hiring locals and paying them (so I was told) around $120 a month. Obviously, a Westerner demands a higher salary. However, I observed the local de-mining talent in action and they appeared extremely competent (I suppose they would have to be or they wouldn’t be on the job long). And what better way to spread the effectiveness of a chronically under-funded NGO than by hiring as many people as possible to do an important job at the lowest cost?
Below is a picture of an expanse recently cleared by the H.A.L.O. Trust:
When we got to the outskirts of Kunduz, the first thing I noticed were these burkha babes. Definitely not a picture that would have been approved of… Fortunately, I have a small camera that I can tuck in my hand and use to occasionally snap pictures like this:
I dropped my stuff off at the hotel we were staying in and immediately started walking around the town, starting with these colorful market stalls directly across the street from where we were staying:
Kunduz is a horse town and many shops feature elaborate saddles and other horse-related gear such as these offerings in a shop selling rope:
This boy spoke a little English and was absolutely fascinated by the presence of an American in town:
There was a wedding taking place in the hotel on the day we arrived. This was one of the guards hired to keep an eye on things because suicide bombers like to strike events such as weddings and funerals with large gatherings of people:
I shot this video from my hotel window the night before we left. I think it gives a good feel for daily life in the city – right up to the dueling kites at the end:
The Germans are having a difficult time in Kunduz with the Taliban, but I encountered no trouble or hostility when I visited.
The next day – driving to Mazar-i-Sharif… We’re leaving the mountains of the Hindu Kush far behind now and really getting into the desert:
From your stories and pics I am starting to think about Afghanistan a lot… I’d love to go. From the news we always receive bad news, sad images and mine and desperate people living out there. I am sure that partly these facts are true, but thanks to your posts, I am enjoying the real Afghanistan, a country made also of real, genuine people and many interesting stories.
My friends and i were collaborated with Afghanistan Master Teacher Trainers in an educational workshop and I found that they are very nice people, educated and open minded.We kept in touch untill now even they went back. Maybe one day I will be there…thank you for the interesting posts..I miss them very much!
I miss them too… Can’t wait to go back one day.
Great to see stuff on Kunduz… People do not go to Kunduz anymore because it is not safe, so it is nice to see what it was like recently. I am glad you went because only military people go now.
There was a bombing in Kunduz just today that killed seven people.
Thank you for your article on Kunduz. It was great to see the pictures of Kunduz and it makes me miss Afghanistan very much.
Enjoyed your Afghanistan blog. I am currently in Kunduz on the PRT, but have been in many of the places in Northern Afghanistan. I wish more people can see the country the way you did. I have met some interesting people out here and find them to be very friendly and welcoming even though I wear a uniform. Afghan people are simple in regards to a lot of things, and I have found it easy to gain their respect. It is too bad this place has seen so much war. I think this country would be an interesting place for Westerners to visit.
Hi Steve –
Thank you for your comment and the “add” on Facebook. I love encountering people such as yourself.
I’m glad you are enjoying yourself in northern Afghanistan. I had a great time there as well and I agree with you that if more Westerners actually visited Kunduz and the surrounding environs that they would likely have a similarly positive experience. As you can probably tell from my blog, I’ve been to a lot of countries, but the Afghan people still retain the top spot in terms of being the friendliest people I have encountered (Not sure I’d necessarily say the same were I to visit Kandahar or Helmand, but who knows?) Anyway, I find that friendliness to be pretty extraordinary if you consider how much hardship they have been through.
I love Kunduz Afghanistan
Hahaahah everything is bullshit in fucking afghanistan i hate kunduz i hate afghanistan nothing is good here i love usa because i can have sex over there i can feel safelyy over there huh? damn afghanistan
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i love kunduzi people specially zidranian more then everything………….i love u so much…..muhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaa 4rm wiki……………….
Thank you for your comment. I think you just became my favorite commenter ever…
Thank u for the article abut afghanistan I was serching for new picture of konduz beacuse is been 10 years that i left afghanistan leave in uk and never went back i miss afghanistan so much so start serching for new picture of my homeland then found your website what a great job after seeing all dose pictures it fills like I was there. and spicaly the picture of the blue masque in Mazar e sharif because I spend my childhood there everyday after school I used to go there with my friends. So ones agen thank u. Oh have you got any vidoes if tad please upload it. Thank u From Noor
Hello Noor –
Thank you for your comment. I miss that area very much as well even though I just visited for a couple of months. Afghanistan remains my favorite place of everywhere I have visited.
I wish I had taken more videos in Afghanistan. I took some video in Kabul, the Salang Pass and then, of course, in Kunduz which you see at the end of the post you commented on. The others can all be seen by just going through the Afghanistan section on my site.
Hey Justin , I was reading & searching more about Afghanistan and rest of the world ….Thanks about these bcoz I was so saddened about the loss of so much of humanity & humans altogether …. I’m from India and exploring friends around the globe ….. plz contact me on my email ….. firstname.lastname@example.org.
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