Osama and the KKR

Osama Bin Laden’s last hiding place was within a block of one of the great motorcycling roads of the world.

The Karakaroum Highway goes from Pakistan’s capital Islamabad to beyond Sost, where it meets the border with China. The road passes a point where three great mountain ranges of the world meet – the Himalayas, Karakaroums and the Hindu Kush. You can even see Everest from the side of the road.

I rode the road back in 1998, making it up to Sost in two days and from Sost to the Border and back to Islamabad in one very long fast day.

Here’s the bike on the back roads to Islamabad from the border with Iran. I got kinda lost (as in totally lost) and ended up in the wildlands.

There are checkpoints everywhere in Pakistan (as there are in many other countries). The drive, for example, from Attabad to Islamabad would certainly encounter several. 40km may not seem like a lot, but in reality it can take quite a while to navigate. This is one of the army guards at an internal border (I think to NWFP) who put me up for the night in the mountains.

I got to go up the KKR on a trip from Europe to Singapore. In retrospect the trip went by far too quickly, and by the time I got the India the bike was pretty much stuffed – with one working brake (only it didn’t work in the wet) and bald tires. But it was a brilliant journey, with plenty of highlights and the zoom down the KKR was way up there.


Published by Lance Wiggs