Public transportation in South Waziristan, in the lawless Tribal Areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan. (Photo by Gohar Masud)
My friend and I squeeze in the front seat of the pickup.
We’re lucky–others are stuck in the back without seats in the freezing winter, getting tossed in the air when the driver crests the hills.
It was another one of those days when I would travel between my home in Dera Ismail Khan and South Waziristan, part of Pakistan’s lawless Tribal Areas, to sell medical supplies for Abbott Labs, an American healthcare company.
Vitamins, antibiotics, Ensure, Similac, Sensimil, Formance, Isomil; basic products you’d find in any hospital or pharmacy in Seattle were a godsend to families in Waziristan. Nobody seemed to care that they were produced by an American company.
By the time I finished my sales at 4pm it was pretty late to start the six-hour trip back home through the so-called no-man’s-land along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
But I had a bad feeling. I just wanted to get out of there, despite the urging of locals who told us it wasn’t wise to travel during the night.