|Travel within Afghanistan is
severely limited by the rugged terrain. The country has less than 25 km
(less than 16 mi) of railroad track, all of which is for shipping goods to
and from Afghanistan and Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Petroleum products
are piped in from Uzbekistan to Bagram and from Turkmenistan to Shindand.
Natural gas used to be piped into the part of the USSR that is now
Uzbekistan through a 180-km (110-mi) pipeline, but was terminated
immediately after the war. Except for the Amu Darya, which has 1200 km
(750 mi) of navigable waters and handles vessels up to about 500 metric
tons, the country's narrow, fast-flowing rivers are nearly all unnavigable
and are used chiefly for the transportation of free-floating timber. Ports
on the Amu Darya include Keleft, Kheyrabad, and Shir Khan. There are about
21,000 km (about 13,000 mi) of highways, about 13 percent are paved, 8
percent are gravel, and 79 percent are dirt.
Public transportation in Afghanistan is generally by bus and truck in
which loads of people, animals, and produce are packed into small spaces
or on the roof. In general women ride in the front, separated from men.
City dwellers tend to travel by bus and bicycle. In the countryside most
Afghans travel by foot, donkey, horseback, and occasionally by camel.
Kabul and Kandahar have international airports. There are 48 airports
in the country, about half of which have paved runways. The national
airline is Ariana Afghan Airlines; Bakhtar Afghan Airlines also provides
some domestic service, but it is nearly defunct because of the war.
Camels and other pack animals are used for conveying goods. Afghanistan
depends on neighboring countries for the shipment of goods to and from its
borders. Hostilities between Pakistan and Afghanistan have often led to
the closing of that border.