Trip to Gardez, 3-4 April 2005
Driving in Kabul
Leaving Kabul
On to Gardez
Gardez Camps
Sp Forces
Random Thoughts


Approaching Gardez

About two hours after leaving Kabul, we reached the mountain pass to Gardez.

South and east of Gardez was the area of Operation Anaconda in early 2002, near where Osama bin Laden was believed to be hiding. For more on this:

At 5900 feet, Kabulís elevation is quite high enough, thank you, but Gardez is almost 2000 feet higher. Getting to Gardez requires an hour-long climb up an ear-popping 2-lane, pot-holed road of serpentine switchbacks to reach a pass at 9600 feet. (The famous Khyber Pass, just a couple hundred miles away, is at only 3500 feet.)  

Views from the pass to the valleys below are spectacular (and fatal for those who tumble off the unmarked, unlit, no-barrier road), but we couldnít stop for photos due to the danger of mines and insurgents.  

Near the top of the pass we saw what was left of an avalanche that had put 15 feet of snow on the road until it was finally cleared by American and Afghan military. Gardez was cut off from the world. Nothing got in, most desperately neither food nor fuel, in the middle of a bitter winter.  

After cresting the pass, itís back down 2000 feet to reach Gardezís 7500-foot elevation.


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