How do you supply an entire war in landlocked Afghanistan? In the fall of 2012, award-winning Kabul-based journalist Matthieu Aikins found out firsthand, riding in a rickety 1993 Nissan truck along the U.S. supply route, from the port city of Karachi into Pakistan's scorching flatlands and lawless borderlands, through the famed Khyber Pass, and on toward the Afghan warzone. Along the way, Aikins meets shady Pakistani contractors, predatory police, and hawk-eyed toll guards, but also the rural Pashtuns who over the last decade have left their tribal homelands for trucking jobs in droves -- like the two hash-smoking brothers in whose cabin Aikins rode.
The result of Aikins's trip is his new ebook, Bird of Chaman, Flower of the Khyber -- the second in the Borderlands series from Foreign Policy magazine and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, available on sale now -- as well as the photos here, taken by Aikins along his six-day, 1,000-mile ride.
Above: Pashtun truckers have a tradition of elaborately decorating their vehicles with brightly colored paint, embossed metal plates, and jingling chains hanging from the bumpers. Pictured here in Karachi is Omar Azaz, who is from the border town of Landi Kotal and works as a "conductor," or driving assistant, on this Nissan fuel tanker truck.