Life In Hell: A Baghdad Diary

In more than 20 trips to the ravaged city, TIME's Aparisim Ghosh has navigated countless perils. His extraordinary story offers a rare insight into the daily life of Iraqi citizens

FRANCO PAGETTI FOR TIME

Welcome Home: Time Baghdad correspondent Aparisim Ghosh returns to the Iraqi capital.

A knot begins to form in my stomach exactly at 8 a.m., when I step into the small Fokker F-28 jet that will take me and 50 other passengers from Amman, Jordan, to Baghdad. I know what lies ahead: an hour's uneventful flying over unchanging desert, followed by the world's scariest landing--a steep, corkscrewing plunge into what used to be Saddam Hussein International Airport. Then an eight-mile drive into the city along what's known as the Highway of Death. I've made this trip more than 20 times since Royal Jordanian's civilian flights started three years ago, and you'd expect it would...

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