Delayed in Pakistan

I was supposed to leave today for Afghanistan, but my flight was cancelled. It was a United Nations flight, the U.N. Humanitarian Air Service, which is used by nongovernmental agencies and journalists because there are so few regular flights between Afghanistan and Pakistan. In fact, there was no other flight from Islamabad to Kabul today.

It's really quite amazing, given the geopolitical pairing of these two countries, that it is so difficult to get from one to the other, and also difficult to phone. Yet there are around three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, and the troubles in Afghanistan have spilled over into Pakistan, along with the Taliban and al Qaeda who are based along the border.

But when it comes to the most basic linkages, the two countries have little contact.