Jan 22, 2008

Troubles at Kabul Airport

From: www.kabuljournal.blogspot.com

New Year started with a bang! I got my firs trip outside Afghanistan for over 2 years, this was very much needed after the hectic 2007 that I had. The trip to India was perfect and I mean it! I visited new places I had never seen before, met new people I had never met before, made some friends, refreshed my mind and had a blast.

I am not writing this to discuss my trip to India but all the troubles at Kabul airport.

To start with trouble No.1: there are so many security checks (targeting Afghans off course, the expats cars go all the way to the plane) that you wished you had not taken the plunge to travel. First I was checked a kilometre from the airport: Do you have a passport? Is it genuine (they have the fake ones as well)? Visa? What is the purpose of your trip? Business or pleasure (this is a joke)? And all the other uncomfortable talk.

The poor Afghan traveller that is me has not yet passed this check that he is ordered to get out of the car and walk to the terminal building 500 meters away! Imagine that you have 3 bags, roughly 30-45 kg and there is no trolley!

As you approach the terminal you see a big line forming in front of the entrance to the terminal. You wonder what this is for and it struck you hard to see that there is another hand operated security check. Open all your bags, what is this? And you say: Oh Zabet Saeb Ain Neekare man ast! (Sir this is my underwear). Weird Neekar comes the reply.

It is very embarrassing that your private cloths (and they always see them first!) are exposed in front of + 100 people at a public place, I don't know about others but I freeze when this happens.

Anyway, to continue the adventure I passed this hand operated security check, and entered the terminal and right there it struck me like lightning: There is an X ray machine that is there in the airport to check the luggage!

Why the hell are they checking me for this long when they have an x ray machine installed at the airport? I didn’t find the answer and departed Kabul airport after gruelling explanations to the immigration officer that I am genuine and not a fake person!

I will skip the part in Indian airports because I don't care about their service delivery, they are also cousins with the guys in Kabul airport but they have a genuine reason for that. Unimaginable overcrowding! That is the genuine reason.

The Safar back to Kabul was smooth as I wished my trip would be. Then we landed at Kabul airport and it started all over again! I mean the troubles. The chaos in immigration were really embarrassing as there was only one flight that landed.

The baggage collection went smoothly and I thought that is it! there is no more trouble and then I asked myself wait for the last straw. See the pictures below:

Yes the airport authority of Kabul had chained all the trolleys so that Kam Air passengers would not use them (they are supposedly only for Ariana and I was travelling with Kam Air).

This is more than embarrassing, this is shameful and unprofessional and not a competition at all! There was nobody from Kam Air at the arrival lounge and the passengers loaded their heavy bags onto their shoulders and started the long march back home.

I wonder when will our persons in charge as they call themselves learn! Learn to respect Afghans as they are Afghans as well, learn the concept of "customer is the king" and finally learn how to compete!