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Rall, Bors, Cloud heading to Afghanistan

Ted Rall, Matt Bors and Steve Cloud are leaving for Afghanistan the second week of August for one month. Rall writes:

I’m leaving for Afghanistan the second week of August. I have three goals:

Go to Taloqan in Takhar Province, to revisit the place where I spent much of the fall of 2001 during the battle of Kunduz. I’ll try to track down my fixer and his family to see how they’re doing (and give them some money) and see how things have changed during the last nine years of America’s longest war. Taloqan has changed hands several times recently between forces loyal to the central government and the Taliban.

Visit the site of the construction of the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline project between Turkmenistan and Pakistan. This is supposed to be north of Herat. TAP is one of the most underreported stories of the last decade.

Travel to the remote western deserts near the Iranian border where U.S. forces and reporters rarely venture or report from. I will stay with local families to see how life is going for them.

And of course I’ll be working on a book for Farrar, Strauss & Giroux’s Hill & Wang imprint.

You can follow our route on the attached map. We’ll fly into Dushanbe, Tajikistan, obtain permission from the Tajik Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enter the restricted 100-kilometer zone along the southern border with Afghanistan, then drive overland to Taloqan, and head west and then south before crossing the border into Iran.

We’ve purchased our Aeroflot flights to Dubai, ongoing via the tiny Somon Air (two planes!) to Dushanbe, Tajikistan. So we’re applying for visas from Tajikistan. We have also applied for media visas for Iran. Since we’ll end up in western Afghanistan, it makes sense to drive to Teheran and catch a flight to Europe from there. Hopefully we’ll be able to get these without any problem, but we won’t know for 25 days, according to the Iranian Interest Section of the Pakistani Embassy in Washington. We’re also applying for Turkmen visas to allow for the possibility that we can?t exit through Iran.

Ah, yes. “We”?

Going along will be two of America’s most gifted cartoonists, Matt Bors and Steven Cloud. Matt Bors (, is a brilliant editorial cartoonist I signed for syndication at United Feature Syndicate. Steven Cloud ( is currently on hiatus from his amazing “Boy on a Stick and Slither” webcomic; hopefully, he will start doing cartoons again in the near future. This will be Matt’s first trip outside the United States. Hell-o, diarrhea! Steven caught the Central Asian travel bug last year when he drove a car in a charity rally from eastern Europe to Mongolia via, among other places, Kazakhstan and Russia.

Community Comments

#1 Charles Brubaker
@ 9:34 am

Good luck, you three. Be safe!

#2 Ted Rall
@ 9:39 am

Thanks, Charles!

BTW, it’s Cloud, not Cloudy.

#3 Alan Gardner
@ 10:14 am

Thanks, Ted. Steven’s name has been corrected.

#4 Tony Piro
@ 10:45 am

Good luck, I wish you guys the best! I’m looking forward to the reporting and work that comes out of this. Boy on a Stick and Slither in Afghanistan?

#5 Dave Stephens
@ 11:01 am

The adventure begins – take lots and lots of photos and be sure to hide the memory cards in case your cameras are confiscated. And be sure your bodyguards have lots of ammo… Good luck!

#6 Scott Kurtz
@ 1:08 pm

Ted I say this without a shred of sarcasm or snarkyness.

For the love of CHRIST be careful and come home safely.

#7 Dan Bielinski
@ 3:32 pm

Be safe, guys. All of us will be awaiting your safe return.


#8 Tom Wood
@ 4:16 pm

Wow. Just, wow.

Here’s to a great adventure and a safe return.

#9 Ted Rall
@ 5:48 pm

Thanks, everyone. Your good wishes mean a lot to us!

#10 August J. Pollak
@ 6:54 am

I loved that last Afghanistan travelogue, Ted, so I’m really excited to hear this is going to try to be a “sequel” of sorts. Looking forward to it, but more importantly I’m REALLY looking forward to you all returning safely.

#11 Derf Backderf
@ 6:58 am

Rall and Bors invade!

THAT will teach the Taliban.

Take care guys.

#12 Rob Tracy
@ 11:04 am

Good luck guys. Stay safe.

#13 Gar Molloy
@ 3:19 am

Good luck and have a good adventure!

Try to keep kosher while you’re over there, I’m pretty sure most of those dietary rules were established to try and keep people healthy in the middle eastern climate.

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