Khyber Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1,070m (3,510ft) above the sea level, located in the northeastern part of the Spin Ghar mountains. The road over the pass is the main route between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The road over the pass is asphalted. It’s called N5 Torkham Highway. The area between Peshawar and Afghanistan is known as the tribal lands. A place where tribal warlords ruled. Here neither the police, nor pakistani army have any jurisdiction what so ever.
The road encompasses miles of stunning views through twisty hair pin corners, high elevations and steep grades. At the top of the pass is the town of Landi Kotal, famous for smuggling everything from consumer electronics to AK-47s. Attractions for the truly intrepid tourist include weapons factories and hashish warehouses.
Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides can occur anytime and can sometimes block some sections of the road, being extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice. Well known invasions of the area have been predominantly through the Khyber Pass. Alongside the dusty road were corrugated metal rooftop store fronts. Here it wasn't milk power nor water they sold. Here, they sold wholesale weaponry. A-K-47's by the dozen, or maybe a single pistol for a single job. Grenades, mortars, not a problem. Discounts available. Next door it was a different kind of merchandise. Hashish by the ounce, kilo, or bale. Opium for export and cocaine for retail.
The main risk on this curvy and narrow mountainous road which rarely permits speeds over 30km/h is coming around a blind corner and discover a vehicle proceeding toward you. The pass has long been a significant trade and invasion route. It is the scene of various historic battles. The Khyber pass is one of the routes once known as “the Silk Road”.
Pic: Wahhaj Ahmad