Pride of Afghanistan

I'm the only Westerner on Ariana Airlines flight 312 from Delhi, in a plane amongst the oldest I've seen, with half-emptied ashtrays, seatbelts of thick, heavy steel and ripped magazine pouches sagging from the seatbacks. The pilot, very excited as we land, sounds rather like Borat. “Thank you-a-very much for-a-flying Ari-ana," he says over the public address system. "And-a goodbye!”

A bit of bounce and swerve on the approach, a glimpse of green fields and we touch down. Now that I think about it, the service and the curry were excellent, I had more than enough space to make myself comfortable and the two-hour flight was pleasantly uneventful. I can't see any good reason why the thousands of UN, US and UK employees working in Afghanistan should be barred from flying Ariana. It's a decent airline with a good safety record. More importantly, it's money the Afghan economy could surely use.

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