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Afghanistan:King of the Road


Travis Beard

Uruzgan, in central Afghanistan is where the Dutch and Australian troops are based. Tarin Kowt the capitial of Uruzgan, in Afghanistan. We join a fuel convoy of 100 trucks going from Kandahar to Tarin Kowt. The fuel is bound for use by the Dutch, Aussie and US forces and without this volatile cargo their mission would be virtually impossible. The fuel is delivered by an Afghan company and security is provided by local 'Police Colonel' Matiullah Khan. Without his 2000 strong men guarding the road the Taliban would and do attack the convoy. Local residents in Kandahar wait for anything up to 2 weeks for the convoy to take off and use it's hired protection to secure their own safe passage to Tarin Kowt. Besides the threat of attacks, commuter must battle with trucks turning over, getting bogged and struggling over rough roads. Our convoy was forced to spend the night in the side of the road as there is a no-driving after dark policy in the area. After a uncomfortable nights sleep in the cab of the truck we continued onto Tarin Kowt where we met Matiullah and his henchmen.


 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213945

As the Convoy of fuel trucks heads out they pass the sign indicating the way to Tarin Kowt

Agandab, Afghanistan - 28/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213946

Brothers and fellow truck drivers have a moment together before they head off on the dangerous mission

Agandab, Afghanistan - 28/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213947

Only 20 Km out of Argandhab a truck turns over and the driver stands on the road looking bewildered

Agandab, Afghanistan - 28/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213949

One policemen rides with us in the back of a police pickup as we race ahead of the convoy to secure the next section on the road.

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 28/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213948

The police convoy that escorts the trucks is full of crazy characters that like to skylark while on the job.

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 28/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213950

Police in the south of the country like to decorate their pick ups with flowers, something you would not see in the central and northern parts of the country as often.

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 28/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213951

Men in a police car pass us with suspicious looks on their faces. Out here the police are in constant battle with the Taliban and are always on alert for potential attacks.

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 28/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213953

This police pick-up has been hit by numerous rounds of gun fire from the Taliban

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 28/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213952

A police driver shows off his fluffy pink steering wheel cover and plastic grapes hanging from the rear vision mirror

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 28/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213954

A policemen guards the road as trucks try to overcome the mud infested track that they must pass in order to reach Tarin Kot

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 28/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213955

Trucks try to overcome the mud infested track that they must pass in order to reach Tarin Kot

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 28/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213957

Trucks try to overcome the mud infested track that they must pass in order to reach Tarin Kot

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 28/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213958

A truck burns rubber as it tries to overcome the mud infested track that they must pass in order to reach Tarin Kot

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 28/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213961

Once the trucks overcomes the mud infested track the driver's assistant claps with joy from on top of the trailer.

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 28/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213960

At one of the numerous checkpoints a drivers hands over his paper work to the policemen so they can check his credentials

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 28/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213962

As dusk falls at one of the numerous checkpoints a policemen signals the truck driver to pull over

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 28/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213963

The convoy is forced to spend the night parked on the side of the road as there is a no-diving after dark policy. The Journalist on the convoy Jeremy sits down to a harty meal of old bread and tomatoes inside the cab of the truck.

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 28/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213968

As dawn creeps over the horizon a truck driver takes a walk after spending the night by the side of the road.

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 29/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213964

As dawn creeps over the horizon the other trucks catch up to the lead group who spent the night by the side of the road.

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 29/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213965

As dawn creeps over the horizon the other trucks catch up to the lead group who spent the night by the side of the road.

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 29/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213969

As dawn creeps over the horizon the trucks bathe in the golden sunlight of the morning

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 29/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213970

A driver takes a opportunity to do his prayers while other drivers are checking over their trucks.

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 29/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213967

As dawn creeps over the horizon a person wakes up after spending the night by the side of the road.

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 29/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213966

Many of the trucks come form Pakistan, where men take pride in decorating their trucks, nicked name jingle trucks. These trucks are also re-known for breaking down

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 29/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213971

The convoy has been guarded all might by Matiuallah's men. This one policemen has a colourfully decorated AK47.

Road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 29/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213972

The trucks arrive in Tarin Kowt and park out side the Dutch military base and wait until they can unload their fuel inside the dept. Sometimes they have to wait up to 10 days before they can do the return journey to Kandahar

Tarin Kot Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 29/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213973

The trucks arrives in Tarin Kowt and park out side the Dutch military base. This truck had been hit in past by Taliban fire.

Tarin Kot Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 29/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213975

The trucks arrive in Tarin Kowt and park out side the Dutch military base and wait until they can unload their fuel inside the dept. Sometimes they have to wait up to 10 days before they can do the return journey to Kandahar

Tarin Kot Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 29/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213974

The trucks arrive in Tarin Kowt and park out side the Dutch military base. This truck driver describes the time he was with the convoy that was attacked by the Taliban and three trucks were blown up by RPG.

Tarin Kot Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 29/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213976

A lone tanker stands in the docking bay of the military base waiting to be unloaded to the Dutch forces.

Tarin Kot Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 29/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213977

The docking area where the trucks must wait is like a waste land, no mans land. Sometimes they have to wait up to 10 days before they can do the return journey to Kandahar

Tarin Kot Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 29/03/2009

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213978

Guards watch the areas as warlord and 'Police colonel' Matiuallah makes and appearance at a school opening he has funded. Matiullah control the road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt and no convoys dare pass with out his permission and or assistance.

Tarin Kot Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 30/03/2008

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213979

Guards watch the areas as warlord and 'Police colonel' Matiuallah makes and appearance at a school opening he has funded. Matiullah control the road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt and no convoys dare pass with out his permission and or assistance.

Tarin Kot Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 30/03/2008

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213980

Guards watch the areas as warlord and 'Police colonel' Matiuallah makes and appearance at a school opening he has funded. Matiullah control the road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt and no convoys dare pass with out his permission and or assistance.

Tarin Kot Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 30/03/2008

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213981

Matiullah with some of his militia men. Together they control the road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt and no convoys can pass with out his permission and or assistance.

Tarin Kot Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 30/03/2008

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213982

One of Matiullah's co-workers. Together they control the road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt and no convoys can pass with out his permission and or assistance.

Tarin Kot Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 30/03/2008

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213983

Matiullah with some of his militia men. Together they control the road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt and no convoys can pass with out his permission and or assistance.

Tarin Kot Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 30/03/2008

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213984

Matiullah controls the road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt and no convoys can pass with out his permission and or assistance.

Tarin Kot Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 30/03/2008

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213985

Matiullah with some of his militia men. Together they control the road between Kandahar and Tarin Kot and no convoys can pass with out his permission and or assistance.

Tarin Kot Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 30/03/2008

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213987

Matiullah controls the road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt and no convoys dares to pass with out his permission and or assistance.

Tarin Kot Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 30/03/2008

 

Travis Beard / Argus / Picturetank BET0213986

Matiullah controls the road between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt and no convoys dares to pass with out his permission and or assistance.

Tarin Kot Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan - 30/03/2008



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