National Geographic : 1960 May
KODACHROME(ABOVE) BY GILBERT M. GROSVENOR,NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSTAFF (5) N.G.S. At India's gate, a jet vaults the Khyber Pass "f HIS is a vivid reminder that all of us 1 live very close together in this 20th century," Mr. Eisenhower remarked to Af ghanistan's King Mohammed Zahir. In less than two hours, he had flown from Karachi to Kabul-730 miles. Outside temperatures dipped 70 degrees as the land soared from sea level to as much as 20,000 feet. Before the air age, travel in this remote, mountain-crammed country was tortuous. Armies of Alexander the Great, Baber, and, more recently, the British, met fierce resist ance by Afghan tribesmen who controlled this strategic gateway to India and who demanded tribute for safe passage. Travelers refusing 612 to pay were robbed and murdered. Claiming their land unfit to farm or even to pasture goats, the tribesmen profitably "farmed the pass." Looking down here on the Khyber Pass, I sympathized with Afghans struggling to sur vive in this naked, arid land of scant rainfall, scorching summers, and freezing winters. Today both East and West court Afghani stan with aid. The Soviets pour millions into showy military equipment and building proj ects. The United States finances the Hel mand River development, underwrites educa tion, teaches agricultural techniques, and sup ports medical teams fighting malaria, tra choma, and malnutrition.