Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif

Last week I finally got out to somewhere more pleasant than Kabul...and not to a detention facility. We traveled in a small propeller plane to Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif to meet the people and see the future consulate sites. Here they are on a map, Herat in the west and Mazar in the north:

Flying over the mountains on the way to Herat:

View of Herat from the consulate roof:
The blue-domed building is the Jihad Museum.

Driving around the city:


Next stop: Mazar-e-Sharif! The capital city of Balkh province, which is now unfortunately most famous for this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/8422469/Seven-killed-in-worst-ever-attack-on-UN-workers-in-Afghanistan.html.

On the way to the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), we saw nomads' tents in the desert:

Prior to the attack, when Mazar was considered one of the safest cities in Afghanistan, it was more famous for the building below, the Blue Mosque. We just drove by it, but I managed to sneak a picture:

Side view of the Mosque:

Crowds hanging out around the Mosque:


Here's a final view of the city. Most of the shops are shuttered because it was a Friday, which is a day off.