Hindu Kush

The Hindu Kush is an 800 km (500 mile) mountain range near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, from central Afghanistan to northern Pakistan.  It divides the valley of the Amu Darya from the Indus Valley.  It was created along with the Himalayas, when the Indian subcontinent collided with the Eurasian plate.

How to Get Over the Hindu Kush

Historically, there have only been a few passes through the Hindu Kush.  The most important today is the Salang Pass–or, more precisely, the Salang Tunnel, which replaced the pass.  Built by the Soviets in 1964, it was considered at that time to be a marvel of engineering.  However, thousands of vehicles go through the tunnel each day, and it has deteriorated to the point where it is only a dirt road; it has virtually no ventilation, but is filled with exhaust fumes from vehicles. The tunnel offers an array of dangers for those who must take it:  the potholes, the lack of visibility, the hairpin turns, the threat of avalanches.  Travelers have little choice; it is the only pass that stays open year-round, and it cuts the driving time from over 20 hours to less than 5.

Repairs on the tunnel, as well as construction of a new tunnel, are in the planning stages.  However, as the Washington Post reported earlier this year, challenges remain.

Nick Kurtz, of the U.S. military, filmed a short video about the tunnel’s importance.  You might find interesting a relatively recent video about the pass / tunnel.  You can also watch a longer video (20 minutes) taken in 2010, that gives you an idea of the beauty of the countryside along the road leading to the tunnel.

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.