It’s been a really tough 48 hours but we are pleased to announce that Chris, Domenic and Laurence have all made it across The Friendship Bridge and the border between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. Kabul to the Kennels is now official.
The team were kept in a holding container at an undisclosed location just outside of Kabul on Sunday 25th May. After a frantic day of packing they arrived late at night on Sunday and bedded down in the container with both vehicles for an early morning start.
On Monday they left the staged starting point and headed North out of Afghanistan. The planned route has had to change due to the landslide in Badakhshan and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. However the route still took the boys North out of Kabul with their planned first night at the German Base of Mazar-i-Sharif.
The majority of the route is mountain and tunnels with unbearable dust. We all know the very real dangers the K2K team could encounter on this trip but perhaps one we haven’t discussed is the Salang Tunnel which was the earliest challenge for the K2K team.
The Salang Tunnel is a 1.6 mile tunnel between the Parwan and Baghlan provinces of Afghanistan. It was completed under Soviet Union power in the 1960’s and it connects Kabul with the Northern Afghan cities.
Each day seven to ten thousand vehicles pass through the tunnel and it is known for a series of avalanches, the last in 2010 which led to 172 deaths.
It was a challenging and exhausting day but without too many surprises and the team rolled into Camp Marmal, relieved but tired, late on Monday evening.
Camp Marmel is host to the German Armed Forces in Afghanistan and sits at the foot of the Hindu Kush Mountains. It hosts the Northern arm of ISAF (International Security Assistance Force)
Originally Chris, Domenic and Laurence were to spend one night here and head to the border at Balkh but decided to make a few more changes and preparations to the vehicles and so stationed here for one more night.
Wednesday morning broke and the team left early. heading to the town of Balkh to cross the border into Afghanistan.
The Friendship Bridge crosses the Amu Darya River, a major river in Central Asia which flows to the Aral Sea. It is a road and rail bridge linking the town of Balkh in Afghanistan to the town Hairatan in Uzbekistan.
It took the team most of the morning to clear the border but all ran smoothly and once safely in Uzbekistan Chris made his first phone call home! It was very welcome!
For all involved, the team on the trip and those of us behind the scenes, this marked a huge day. Lots of sighs of relief and time for the excitement to really begin.
Next stop? Bukhara where the team will make a decent stop to stock up on Diesel and supplies and also will spend a night in the luxuries of a hotel, for tonight though? Chris, Domenic and Laurence are camping on the side of a road.
TOTAL KILOMETERS: Kabul to Balkh 444.18km