By sheer luck, a very helpful officer from PIA and some bloody minded persistence, I managed to get a flight in a Pakistan Air Force C130 from Peshawar to Chitral. It was 1987, the Russians were still embroiled in their war with the Mujahedeen, just across the border in Afghanistan.
Chitral is a town in the the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan that commands the Chitral valley and acts as an administrative centre in a wild west world.After a few days spent exploring Chitral, I set out on foot to the valleys of the Kalash – the wearers of black robes – a small tribe of non-Muslims who live a three valleys in the mountains of the Hindu Kush. Walking through Afghan refugee camps, I made friends with Bez – an Afghani refugee and spent the day walking with him to Ajun. From there to the Kalash valleys in plenty of time for their Spring Festivities. One regret os that I did not take a pcture of the Afghan run shop made out of Chinese RPG packing cases.
It would have been illegal for me to have crossed into the Nuristan province of Afghanistan.
Then back to Chitral and over Shandur Pass by foot over drifts of frozen snow. The night in a cave with a group of herdsmen during Ramadan was not quite what I had expected, but their hospitality was boundless.
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