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Tajikistan’s Famous Tunnel of Terror

There is one dwarf yet in Moria who still draws breath.

The  5km tunnel gouging a hole through the mountains separating Dushanbe from its northern city of Khujand is nasty. In olden times you could just bypass it through Uzbekistan, but since the collapse of the Soviet Union, tensions have risen and borders have been a pain the ass for everyone.

The Tajiks were left to drive over the Anzob Pass, closed for a good chunk of the year due to snow and prone to avalanches. So, with the help of Iran, they built a tunnel.

Five years ago David Trilling reported for Eurasianet on the “mission accomplished”-style incomplete completion already then one year in the past. You can see how it looks today.

It’s riddled with potholes of unknown depths, which are difficult to see for multiple reasons: (1) they’re often under the regular stream of about six inches of water that flows through the tunnel; (2) there are only a few scattered hooklights to illuminate the entire cave; (3) the tunnel has no ventilation so clouds of exhaust often obscure your vision; and (4) you’re too busy trying to avoid the occasional piece of furniture, scaffolding, and stray sabers of rebar stabbing out of the primordial ooze, like mechanical zombie arms awakening in a Soviet graveyard.

As you can see in the photo at top, one family got their car stuck in one of these potholes and stepped out and aside for a while to either come up with an escape plan or, literally, die trying.

One Comment

  1. jfap

    The cow wandering in the tunnel is a nice touch.

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