On Afghan road, scenes of beauty and death

A road that runs through a mountain gorge between Kabul and Jalalabad holds its own terrors. From the New York Times:

Sarobi, Afghanistan — Even in a nation beset by war and suicide bombings, you would be hard-pressed to find anything as reliably terrifying as the national highway through the Kabul Gorge.

The 40-mile stretch, a breathtaking chasm of mountains and cliffs between Kabul and Jalalabad, claims so many lives so regularly that most people stopped counting long ago. Cars flip and flatten. Trucks soar to the valley floor. Buses play chicken; buses collide.

The mayhem unfolds on one of the most bewitching stretches of scenery on all the earth. The gorge, in some places no more than a few hundred yards wide, is framed by vertical rock cliffs that soar more than 2,000 feet above the Kabul River below. Most people die, and most cars crash, while zooming around one of the impossible turns that offer impossible views of the crevasses and buttes. More:

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