Being a landlocked country, Afghanistan is primarily dependent on transit facilities from its neighbors for its international trade. Lacking railways and with few navigable rivers, it relies on roads as the mainstay of its transport system. These factors produce high transport costs and also add to the difficulty of integrating the transport system of the country with those of its neighbors. Nevertheless, in the 1960s major efforts were directed toward upgrading the highway system and connecting the main trading centers of the country with one another, as well as with the railheads or road networks of neighboring countries.
The road network of Afghanistan now connects railheads in Kushka, Turkmenistan, and Termez, Uzbekistan, with those at Chaman and Peshawar, Pak., respectively, and provides for direct overland transit between the nations to the north and the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent. The most important Afghan highways are those connecting Kabul with Shir Khan, on the northern border, and with Peshawar. Other paved roads link Qandahar, Herat, and Mazar-e Sharif with Kabul and with frontier towns of Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Despite the rapid development of motor transport, camels and donkeys are still commonly used as draft animals. In the countryside many people have not abandoned their cherished horses, which are important for prestige.
Civil aviation has increased in importance. Almost all provincial centers have at least a seasonally operable airport, while there are international airports at Kabul and Qandahar.