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Getting there & away

Ariana Afghan Airlines (Sarakh-e Khanabad) normally fly on Sunday and Tuesday to Kabul but the schedule is a very moveable feast. The airport is 12km south of Kunduz, 200Afg by taxi.

Minibuses and shared taxis to Kabul (400Afg, 10 hours), Pul-e Khumri (80Afg, 90 minutes) and Mazar-e Sharif (350Afg, five hours) depart from Bandar-e Kabul terminal on the road south out of Kunduz. Transport south from Kunduz often stops at the picturesque sugar-producing town of Baghlan. The chaikhanas opposite the pleasantly leafy town square are a relaxing place to break the journey.

Shared taxis to Shir Khan Bandar (80Afg, one hour) for the Tajikistan border leave from opposite the Bala Hissar.

East of the main square, there are minibuses to Taloqan (50Afg, one hour) and Faizabad (500Afg, 10 hours). Taloqan is another pleasant tree-lined town, with little to do but drink tea and visit the bazaar. One-time capital of the Northern Alliance, it has seen sizeable Iranian funding – note the street signs named for ayatollahs. The sealed road finishes soon after Taloqan, after which it’s an extremely bumpy (though very beautiful) ride into Badakhshan.