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Five ways to get to Kabul, Afghanistan

Does your definition of "adventure travel" involve a safety briefing and equipment to keep you safe? If so, there's a hard-core version of the concept that you've been missing. Chase the ultimate thrill in Afghanistan, and your world will never be the same. In case you haven't heard, there's a war going on, not to mention plenty of corruption. You will have an adventure to talk about when if you get home.

So, how do you get there?

Unsurprisingly, there isn't a lot of demand for travel to Afghanistan. It looks like your best (and sometimes only) bet is to fly into Kabul and branch out from there. Flight availability varies with the fighting and willingness of air carriers to assume the attendant risk, so you may need to hunt around a bit and be flexible. The good news, though, is that the flights appear to be relatively inexpensive.

Below, you'll find five ways to get to Kabul. The rest is up to you.

1. Air Arabia: though it seems this airline used to offer flights directly to Kabul, this destination is no longer listed. But, you can always get close: fly to Peshawar, Pakistan, and take your chances with a local guide or solo trek.

Bonus: Air Arabia isn't flying into a war zone any more. Take the hint.

2. Ariana Afghan Airlines: this regional carrier offers flights to Kabul from more than a dozen cities, including some that are recognizable and easily accessible, like Frankfurt and Moscow. A quick look at the website shows you that Ariana specializes in Kabul, as every flight available either starts or ends there. If you're looking to save a few bucks on your little adventure, you could do worse: roundtrip tickets are only around $1,000 and kids' fares are even cheaper (bring the whole family!). There are additional discounts for long-term stays of six months or a year. Unsettlingly, one-way fares are listed on the website.

Bonus: There is a customer loyalty program, but details have yet to be published.


3. Pakistan International: There aren't any direct flights to Kabul, unless you fly from Dubai, make that your first stop from the United States. Flights from Islamabad are available only four days a week (Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday). If you prefer to leave from Peshawar, you're limited to Saturdays. Build this into your itinerary.

Bonus: Business class seats are available!

4. Kam Air: Do you want choices? You'll get them with Kam Air! Among the cities that will get you to Kabul are Dubai, New Delhi and Islamabad. Tehran and Mashad require layovers in Mazar, which you probably don't want. When planning your travel, pay attention to which cities have flights to Kabul on which days (your best bet is Dubai).

Bonus: You have choices ... what more could you want?

5. Get a job: if you really are committed to visiting Afghanistan, consider finding employment there. I've heard that there are plenty of U.S. government jobs that offer no end of opportunity to go to Afghanistan. You'll even get free clothing and be surrounded by some well-trained security folks (hint, hint).

Bonus: You'll get money for college.

[photo by isafmedia via Flickr]

Filed under: Asia, Afghanistan, Airlines

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