Afghanistan border crossings

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Afghanistan shares borders with Tajikistan, China, Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. While some border crossings are open 24 hours, the status of most is unclear. The best strategy for success is to come early in the morning and be patient. To see the location of the border posts, check the Central Asia border crossing map. For more information on getting in and out of Afghanistan, see Transport in Afghanistan (coming soon!). For more info on visa requirements, check out the Afghanistan visa chapter.

The borders are open for Mujahideen Victory Day.

Afghanistan – Tajikistan border crossings

bridge over pyanj

Bridge over the river Pyanj

Shir Khan Bandar - Panji Poyon: The Friendship Bridge connects Dushanbe with Kunduz. It’s an important crossing for freight coming from China through Tajikistan into Afghanistan (and then to Iran). There has been talk about a railroad connecting Kashgar in China through Dushanbe with Kunduz, but it has not materialised yet.  Public transport should be available on both sides.

Ishkashim: Coming from Afghanistan, you will need to show a GBAO permit to enter Tajikistan. Coming from Tajikistan, you will need a Wakhan permit if you plan to travel past Sultan Ishkashim, which can be arranged by a tour operator once inside Afghanistan. A tour operator can also pick you up from the border if you don’t have your own transport.

The Tajik border opens at 0800-12.00 and then opens again at 14.00. The Afghan border is closed on Sunday. Opening times 09:00 – 11:30, 14:00 – 16:00.

Beware that it can get very hot there in summer, and the border is a 3km walk out of town on the Tajik side. Ishkashim is about 3 hours from Khorog. On the Afghan side, the border is about 5 km from the city of Sultan Ishkashim.

The Tajik control may ask for several bribes for not having an immigration card, which you are not given at the Kyrgyz border. Stand your ground. Afghan formalities should be fast. A Russian traveler asked for his passport to be stamped on another page so he could try to use the visa twice, and the border guard agreed.

The border is open for Mujahideen Victory Day.

Khorog – Shegnan: A bridge connects Tajikistan with Afghanistan here, also known as the Tem – Demogan bridge. The border opens Monday to Friday from 9am-12am and 1pm-4pm. The road goes on to Shegnan Bazaar, and from June to the start of the winter snows, you can drive down to Shiva Lake  in about 2 hours and then onwards to Baharak (another 4 hours from Shiva to Baharak, bypassing Warduj)…again, only when the snow melts after June.

Langar: Not open for foreigners.

Darwaz: Bridge over the Pyanj river connecting Afghanistan with Tajikistan. Not open to foreigners.

Afghanistan – China border crossing

wakhjir-pass

Fortress on the Wakhjir pass

Wakhjir pass: At 4,923 m (16,152 ft), the only pass between Afghanistan and China is not an easy one. It is difficult to assess how the infrastructure situation is on the Wakhjir pass now, but China has finished building a road across the pass, it seems. It is mostly used as a low-intensity drug-smuggling corridor to bring opium to China during the summer. Not open to foreigners.

Afghanistan – Pakistan border crossings

khyber-pass

The Khyber pass

Khyber pass (Torkham):

March 2013: Commenter Emmeff says that Torkham border is not open to foreigners unless they make complicated arrangements beforehand.

28 december 2012: Pakistan has reopened the Torkham border. Foreigners and goods trucks are allowed to pass, according to one journalist.

Previously: permits to go overland have not been given to travelers without their own transport since 2008 because of security concerns. However, if you have your own car, the authorities (FATA secretariate in Peshawar) will consider your request. Foreigners have been known to sneak across to the famous Arms or Smuggler’s Bazaar. An unwise idea, endangering many people’s lives.

Chaman – Spin Boldak crossing: Closed for foreigners. According to commenter Emmeff, this crossing will never open.

Other border crossings: Dorah pass, Peiwar Kotal pass, Ghulam Khan pass, Angoor Ada – Shkin crossing, Gumal pass, Brogol pass. All are closed.

Afghanistan – Uzbekistan border crossings

Termez – Hayratan: On the main road to Mazar-i-Sharif. Since some time now, this border has been functioning normally, although reportedly, the border guards can be a pain in the ass. Others report quick and friendly treatment. From the border, it’s about 1 hour to Mazar-e-Sharif, and another 8 to Kabul.

Aghanistan – Iran border crossings

Islam Qala

Islam Qala

Islam Qala – Taybad: Main Iran – Afghanistan crossing between Mashad and Herat. The security situation in Afghanistan is of course subject to change, but the border crossing is definitely open for foreigners, operating during daylight hours only. It’s busy. The Mashad – Herat road is in good condition. Shared taxis are the quickest way to get to/from the border to Mashad on the Iranian side (4 hours), with a possible stop-over needed in Torbat-e-Jam. On the Afghani side, it’s about 2 hours driving from the border to Herat, with lots of shared taxis and minibuses willing to take you there.  Latest we heard, a shared taxi from Herat to Mashad cost 30$ (2010).

Alternatively, there are also buses from Mashad to Taybad, and even to Herat, but not much cheaper than the shared taxis, and definitely slower at the border than walking across and taking another transport. If you would like to take the bus in Mashad, or in the other direction from Herat, get there early in the morning and wait for the bus to fill up, since there is no way of knowing when it will leave.

Milak – Zaranj: This is officially a multilateral border crossing open to foreigners. The reality is that it is a dirt track rather than a road, and the dangerous situation in Afghanistan makes that there have been no reports of any foreigner crossing this road and having lived to tell the story.

Afghanistan – Turkmenistan border crossings

On entering Turkmenistan you have to pay 12$ entry tax, to be paid in dollars only.  The borders are usually closed for lunch. Take about 2 hours to cross any border.

bala murghab

Bala Murghab, near the Turkmen border

Torghundi (Tawraghudi ) – Serkhetabat (Kushka): The main border between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, on the road to Herat. Of course the security situation in Afghanistan is unstable, so if you decide to take this route,  do it in daylight hours and make yourself known to the police. The road is perfect asphalt, but in the winter, it may be closed because of snowfall.

A shared taxi from Herat to the border cost anywhere between 200 afghanis and 30$ in 2011, depending on haggling skills. From the border to Herat, it is unsure if transport will be waiting for you (mixed traveler reports), but maybe the border guards will take care of you. On the Turkmen side, it should be no problem to find a shared taxi heading to Mary, if you are on a transit visa.

Imam Nazar – Aaqina: A remote border crossing near Andkhoy that sees little traffic, but is definitely open to foreigners. The road is a dirt track that will require a 4WD and good preparation. There is no settlement on either side of the border, so you will likely continue straight to Atamyrat (previously Kerki) or Andkhoy, if you find transport quickly. There is no public transport going to the border.

11 Comments

  1. Dear Admin,

    Wow its awesome website, we can use it for our cargoes information services coming from Thailand to Afghanistan, and further it can help me in my thesis.

    Thanks,

    Jan Mohammad Stanekzay

  2. I entered Afghan via Termiz (Uzbek). I was body searched, but no hassles. Everything was done in less than 30mins,and bringing in own vehicle is FOC.
    I exit Afghan via the same border, and it took me less than 10mins. Very easy.

    • Thank you very much for all your helpful comments, Anita!

    • Dear Anita,

      Were you travelling on a motorcycle? I have in my agenda trip arround the Stans on a motorcycle and every bit of information means the world to me. Cheers, Misha.

  3. My experience on crossing the borders of Afghanistan.

    With Pakistan the situation seems difficult. Since early 2008 tourists have been barred from crossing the territory between Peshawar and the border at Torkham. To further complicate things, I believe that the Afghans have barred foreigners from using the Torkham border in 2010, meaning that the border is closed from both directions. In late 2009 I managed to drive across in my own car; I only got a permit through persistence and good fortune. You can read about it here:

    http://eurasiaoverland.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/16ii/

    I have not heard any substantiated reports of travellers crossing the Torkham border since, though that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been done.

    As for the Chaman / Spin Bolak border, I have not crossed it. To say that it will ‘never open to foreigners’ seems a little rash. I drove most of the way to Chaman (I missed the turning for Zhob) without an issue. I don’t honestly know whether the border is expressly closed to foreigners; I have a feeling that none have tried to cross, and since the region is in a formal province of Pakistan (i.e. not a Tribal Area), it should be accessible. However, as a foreigner one must blend in to avoid the attention of the police.

    This argument is fairly academic however, as unless you had very good – by which I mean native – Pashto, or very good local connections, you would be taking a serious risk in crossing this border. I had considered it as a last resort in 2009, and I’m glad it didn’t come to that.

    The Torghundi / Serhetabat crossing is well described here, but I would like to add my experience of crossing the Aqena / Imam Nazar border. In 2009 there was no road from Andkhoy (great place) to the border crossing. That said, a 4WD is not technically necessary, and it is in all other ways a standard border crossing. You can read about my experience here:

    http://eurasiaoverland.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/17ii/

    As for the Heyratan / Termez crossing, I fully agree with the comments made here. The Afghan border guard here was the worst excuse for a human being I had met in a long time, and the Uzbeks – who are decent, though thorough, will take your luggage apart. Enjoy!

    • I found a woman who recently crossed Khyber pass! She hasn’t gotten back to me with details though. Thank you for the update!

    • I dont hv any problem with the border guards at Hairatan upon entring Afghan and exitting Afghan (at the same border & dealing with the same guards)…may be bcos I am a Malaysian woman and a Muslim, so they were nicer :)

  4. Hi, as for the moment (Jun 2013) border in Ishkoshim is open BUT the situation on the other side of the border is dangerous. For two weeks now, there is no traditional Afghani market in Ishkoshim, not a single person cross the border from Afghanistan. The reason is (as I was told, I did not cross the border here) 1. the epidemic of typhus 2. taking over the road to Fayzabad by Talbans

    On the way to Dushanbe via Pamir Highway I saw two new bridges – border crossings. They’re meant to be open within a month. No info on how will that work for foreigners.

    Langar is closed for foreigners. I asked and got an answer “no way, vojna idjiot” which means “war is coming”. I recon if coming from Afghanistan, they may be more felxible, but only as an emergency I recon.

    Thanks for all the info Steven!
    Fair winds, Kasia

    • Thank you. Got some more info on this crossing, will update soon. Fair winds indeed, have a good journey!

  5. Re Afghanistan–Pakistan border crossings:

    The information on this page is both inaccurate and dangerous.

    There are no crossings open to foreigners (that is, people without either Pakistani or Afghan citizenship) between these two countries.

    The linked message on Twitter misrepresents the situation at the Khyber Pass — foreigners cannot make this crossing without making complicated arrangements beforehand.

    The Chaman–Spin Boldak crossing is never likely to open to foreigners, and furthermore is deep within highly restricted and extremely dangerous regions of both countries.

    The other crossings are remote, mostly dangerous and definitely illegal for foreigners to use.

    Please revise this page.

    MF

    • Thank you, will do shortly!

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