Pamir Highway & Taliban offensive 2021

Is the road, border or area open and accessible to foreigners? Is there danger?
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Kalpazan
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Re: Tajikistan Corona travel restrictions / e-visa issues Q&A

Post by Kalpazan »

Please share any finding with us as first hand experience is much appreciated.
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Colin_o
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Re: Tajikistan Corona travel restrictions / e-visa issues Q&A

Post by Colin_o »

Update of the info we were able to gather :
- Tadjikistan Tourist Police is advising to NOT cycle the Whakan valley and any area on the border
- Tour operators we could contact are not mentioning any safety issues/limitation so far
- we are in contact with cyclist in currently in the area that so far did not report any issues (they left Khorog yesterday, and taxied from Dushambe to Khorog)
- French Ambassy has no official recommendation for its resident or tourists but is insisting on high "activity" on cities on the Afghan border, Khorog in particular, whithout taking position on recommending or not to avoid the area
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Christian77
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Re: Pamir Highway & Taliban offensive 2021

Post by Christian77 »

Small update: An Indian youtuber just got off the Pamir Highway (returned to Dushanbe). He started his trip before the border problems started. He reported checkpoints and visible extra security on his way back to Dushanbe, but not much else. He also said he met two European tourists on the road.

But so far I haven't found an anecdote of someone starting their trip on the Pamir Highway under the current circumstances (but I'm not calling guesthouses and asking them if new visitors are arriving).

As for the Tajikistan Tourist Police advising against travel, that's just their opinion. Like, literally just an opinion. The Committee for National Security is in charge (border guards are under their authority) and their decisions are what matter. Unfortunately, they don't make announcements and their rules are enforced inconsistently.
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AlejandroRothriquez
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Re: Pamir Highway & Taliban offensive 2021

Post by AlejandroRothriquez »

Hello everyone,

Just got back to Dushanbe from the Pamir Highway. Started our trip on the 1st July, so smack bang in the middle of the trouble.

What I can report is that on the Tajikistan side there is no issue. Though the Taliban control the other side (which is just across the river; you can see their flag at the border crossings), and you can sometimes hear the sounds of fighting, it hasn't spilled over to the Tajikistan side.

Everyone seems pretty confident that because of the security guarantee from Russia (they have a base in Tajikistan and can be there in ~20 minutes by chopper) that the Taliban can't/won't try anything. Simply, it's not in their interests to.

We were travelling along the border for the first three or four days of our travels, including passing through Ishkashim, and there were no issues whatsoever.

Don't stop travelling if you are thinking of it, the parts of the local economy in these places that rely on tourism are really, really suffering right now and need the business.
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04Morley
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Re: Tajikistan Corona travel restrictions / e-visa issues Q&A

Post by 04Morley »

Colin_o wrote:
Fri Jul 09, 2021 10:18 am
Update of the info we were able to gather :
- Tadjikistan Tourist Police is advising to NOT cycle the Whakan valley and any area on the border
- Tour operators we could contact are not mentioning any safety issues/limitation so far
- we are in contact with cyclist in currently in the area that so far did not report any issues (they left Khorog yesterday, and taxied from Dushambe to Khorog)
- French Ambassy has no official recommendation for its resident or tourists but is insisting on high "activity" on cities on the Afghan border, Khorog in particular, whithout taking position on recommending or not to avoid the area
Hi Colin_o, can you let us know what you end up doing please and any further reports you have from contacts? We're planning on cycling the Pamirs late in the summer so grateful for any intel.

Thanks.
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tokyodom
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Re: Pamir Highway & Taliban offensive 2021

Post by tokyodom »

Afghan Wakhan now totally off limits - one Argentinian tourist crossed 48 hours before Taliban entered Sultan Ishkashim last week and was lucky enough to be far enough ahead that his guide (my source) was able to get him back across to the Tajik side safely.

Tajik side along panj river (as per above) unlikely to be a good idea this summer unless you have access to up to date security info on the ground and within last 24 hours before arrival. Main route in car (I wouldn't cycle but it's a personal choice / risk appetite decision) may be safer but with same proviso re updated security intel.
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04Morley
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Re: Pamir Highway & Taliban offensive 2021

Post by 04Morley »

Thanks. Is it the whole Tajik road that is affected? What about the stretch from Kalaikhum to Khorog? Thanks.
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Pamirski
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Re: Pamir Highway & Taliban offensive 2021

Post by Pamirski »

It seems, that at the moment all districts on the other side of the Panj are in hands of Taliban, that means south of Khorog and north of Khorog. If you want to avoid cycling on a road alongside a Taliban occupied river shore (or if you are denied cycling), you would take a transport from Khalaikhum and could cycle the northern road to Khalaikum (if open and allowed). From Khorog you could choose the Pamir Hwy or the Shaqdara valley to proceed to Murghab / Bartang beeing another alternative from Rushan (but more demanding and remote for cyclists). I remember that some years ago we had difficulties finding a taxi from Khalaikhum (only few ones and in the morning) and ended up taking a truck.
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04Morley
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Re: Pamir Highway & Taliban offensive 2021

Post by 04Morley »

Pamirski wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 5:54 am
It seems, that at the moment all districts on the other side of the Panj are in hands of Taliban, that means south of Khorog and north of Khorog. If you want to avoid cycling on a road alongside a Taliban occupied river shore (or if you are denied cycling), you would take a transport from Khalaikhum and could cycle the northern road to Khalaikum (if open and allowed). From Khorog you could choose the Pamir Hwy or the Shaqdara valley to proceed to Murghab / Bartang beeing another alternative from Rushan (but more demanding and remote for cyclists). I remember that some years ago we had difficulties finding a taxi from Khalaikhum (only few ones and in the morning) and ended up taking a truck.
Thanks Pamirski, that's v helpful Two follow up questions if I may:

1. Do you know how I can find out if the road is open to cyclists?
2. How do you go about getting a lift with a truck? Is it just a case of hitching or is there a better way?

Thanks.
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Pamirski
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Re: Pamir Highway & Taliban offensive 2021

Post by Pamirski »

Sorry, I cannot give you information on that, but I would rely on information of other cyclists and then try and error. In 2009 I was once turned around by security forces, when on my way to the Northern route. Therefore it is always good to have a backup plan.
As for the trucks, we hitched (but of course a tip was welcome).
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