Soviet helicopters, pick-up truck racing, Kalashnikov-carrying security guards, banquet lunches.  Photographing Afghan presidential candidates as they traverse the country before the election on August 20, is campaign travel at its quirkiest.

Flying with Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah to a campaign rally in Samangan province.  Photo: Tyler Hicks

In Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan one week before the vote, the traveling press piled into the back of pick-up trucks following Abdullah Abdullah, Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s main rival, from the airport to the Shrine of Hazrat Ali.

Supporters race to keep up with Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah’s convoy as he arrives to give a campaign speech at the Shrine of Hazrat Ali in Mazar-i-Sharif.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Around 50,000 supporters jostled between the cars in the convoy, so each truck would accelerate, then slam on the brakes.  Abdullah supporters were grasping the back of the truck and trying to climb up.  It was challenging to stay standing to take photos without being launched into the crowd every time we went from 30-0mph in 3 seconds.