High up in the Hindu Kush, at 3600m above sea level lies Afghanistan‘s highest and most important tunnel. The logistical vein has been constructed in 1964 by the Soviet Union and has later been logistically crucial to the Soviet occupation by easing the connection from the North of the country to Kabul.
Ever since its construction, due to its strategic location the tunnel has born witness to a shattered history – numerous armed conflicts and various regime changes. With the fall of the NATO supported government in Afghanistan and the comeback of the Taliban, the group has also set up a new cadre for the administration and maintenance of the country‘s major North-South connection. However experts raise serious doubts about the capabilities of the new administration despite them having done some long neglected basic ground work.
Fierce atmospheric conditions in the winter season combined with poor maintenance mostly due to corruption during the past two decades, make the journey through the tunnel an adventure. Reports of people freezing to death because of cars stuck due to avalanches, smoke poisoning due to bad ventilation or road accidents are nothing uncommon.
Workers based at maintenance hubs at both ends of the tunnel work under high risk and harsh conditions to keep the vein pulsating. Cleaning snow off the road, pouring sand on iced surfaces, dispersing water on the unasphalted floor to lower the dust and guiding vehicles count to their daily tasks. An archaic men-only cosmos.