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Getting there & away

Although road travel options exist and the condition of the roads has improved greatly in recent years, the Kandahar–Kabul route (bus/taxi 500/2000Afg, six hours) and the Kandahar–Herat route (bus/taxi 1000/4000Afg, 12 hours) aren’t recommended due to the prevailing security situation.

Air remains the best option for accessing Kandahar. Several commercial carriers provide regular services into the recently refurbished civilian terminal building, featured on the 500 Afghani note. Ariana Afghan Airlines (070 300847; Spin Boldak Sarak) has just commenced two regular services; a weekly Kabul–Kandahar–Herat service (one-way 1790Afg) and a weekly Kabul–Kandahar–Dubai service (one-way 8600Afg). Although pricey, the Dubai-based DFS (971-42997556; www.dfsmiddleeast.com; one-way US$600) also take passengers on their weekly cargo run from Dubai–Kandahar.

Several options exist for Kabul–Kandahar flight – exclusively for NGOs registered with the humanitarian air carriers. The ICRC operates a free space-available weekly service, UNHAS have a twice weekly service and PACTEC operates a weekly service.

Kandahar can be reached by road from Quetta in Pakistan. You will need to take a bus or taxi to the Pakistani border town of Chaman, then cross into Spin Boldak in Afghanistan and take a taxi to Kandahar (800Afg, two hours). There is no reason to spend any time in the border towns, which in summer resemble something out of a Mad Max movie: full of dust and dirt, with the locals engaged in trading auto parts and smuggling goods. The border generally opens at 8am and can close anytime up until 5pm, or without notice by the security forces on either side. This is the only section of road in the south that is currently being used by NGOs. However, as with all information in this chapter, ensure you have the latest security information before planning a trip.