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Backpacker's eye-opening journey as a 'guest' of the Taliban

Started by PocketOption, May 03, 2022, 04:48 am

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Backpacker's eye-opening journey as a 'guest' of the Taliban

It's certainly a less-trodden path, but that's exactly why one intrepid backpacker wanted to do it. 

Rico Chee, a 25-year-old Malaysian writer and translator, crossed the border from Pakistan to Iran last year as part of his ongoing 6,200-mile journey from China to Istanbul. 

He talks to MailOnline Travel about finding himself as a 'guest' of the Taliban during his time in Pakistan - how he met a member who said he'd simply 'got used to' killing, and hosts who were incredibly courteous.

Rico Chee, a 25-year-old Malaysian traveller and writer (centre), crossed the border from Pakistan to Iran with armed escorts (pictured) who are assigned to all foreigners

image

Reaching Iran via the Pakistan border as a foreigner means you're entitled to a free armed escort, Rico explains - but only for certain parts of the journey.

'I soon realised that the Pakistani army would to a great degree protect my life,' he says.

'Friends I had in certain regions were still very pessimistic about my trip.
One even tried to hide my passport because he really thought I was going to get myself killed.'

But Rico went anyway.

Many of his photos were deleted by Taliban forces. This shows a rickshaw in Pakistan, also known as a 'ching ching'

Many of his photos were deleted by Taliban forces.

This shows a rickshaw in Pakistan, also known as a 'ching ching'

Here Rico is pictured at another point of his ongoing journey - at the Wagah border crossing ceremony from Pakistan to India

Here Rico is pictured at another point of his ongoing journey - at the Wagah border crossing ceremony from Pakistan to India

Through another Pakistani friend, Rico became a guest of several members of the Taliban while traversing the country.

He explains that in Pakistan he had an armed escort in the Gilgit-Baltistan area and also from Quetta to Taftan, the Pakistani border with Iran.

He was introduced to the Taliban before he reached Quetta.

He says: 'It wouldn't have been possible after Quetta where my every move was monitored by the armed mardin escort and going out alone without them was also not possible.'

He continues: 'Most of the Taliban have never seen foreigners, let alone travellers before, so they were very excited to hear about my side of the story. 

'It was a very humbling experience to say the least.'

Rico added: 'There's a saying here - "If you're a guest, then you're a friend sent by God" - which couldn't be any truer from what I've experienced, even with supposedly brutal militants.

'I spent most of the time talking to them, trying to understand them.


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