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Wakhan
Wakhan
or "the Wakhan" (also spelt Vakhan; Persian and Pashto: واخان‎, Vâxân and Wāxān respectively; Tajik: Вахон, Vaxon) is a very mountainous and rugged part of the Pamir, Hindu Kush and Karakoram
Karakoram
regions of Afghanistan. Wakhan District
Wakhan District
is a district in Badakshan
Badakshan
Province.

Contents

1 Geography

1.1 Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor

2 History 3 Demographics

3.1 Wakhi 3.2 Kyrgyz 3.3 Kho

4 Tourism 5 Popular culture 6 Footnotes 7 References 8 External links

Geography[edit]

The Wakhan
Wakhan
and surrounding areas along the border of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and Tajikistan

Wakhan
Wakhan
people are also located in Pakistan, Gilgit, upper Hunza Gojal Velly, where numerous people speaks wakhi and they have different culture which include dance, food, festival and much more. The Wakhan is located in the extreme north-east of Afghanistan. It contains the headwaters of the Amu Darya
Amu Darya
(Oxus) River, and was an ancient corridor for travellers from the Tarim Basin
Tarim Basin
to Badakshan. Until 1883 the Wakhan
Wakhan
included the whole valley of the Panj River
Panj River
and the Pamir River, as well as the upper flow of the Panj River
Panj River
known as the Wakhan
Wakhan
River.[1] An 1873 agreement between UK and Russia
Russia
split the Wakhan
Wakhan
by delimiting spheres of influence for the two countries at the Panj and Pamir rivers, and an agreement between Britain and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
in 1893 confirmed the new border.[2] Since then, the name Wakhan
Wakhan
is now generally used to refer to the Afghan area south of the two rivers. The northern part of the historic Wakhan
Wakhan
is now part of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province
Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province
in Tajikistan. The only road into the Wakhan
Wakhan
is a rough track from Ishkashim past Qila-e Panja
Qila-e Panja
to Sarhad-e Broghil. Paths lead from the end of the road to the Wakhjir Pass, a mountain pass leading to China which is closed to travellers. The western part of the Wakhan, between Ishkashim and Qila-e Panja, is known as Lower Wakhan, which includes the valley of the Panj River. The valleys of the Wakhan
Wakhan
River, the Pamir River
Pamir River
and their tributaries, and the terrain between, are known as Upper Wakhan. The eastern extremity of Upper Wakhan
Wakhan
is known as the Pamir Knot, the area where the Himalayas, Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun, and Hindu Kush ranges meet. West of the Pamir Knot is the Little Pamir, a broad U-shaped grassy valley 100 km long and 10 km wide,[3] which contains Chaqmaqtin Lake, the headwaters of the Aksu or Murghab River. At the eastern end of the Little Pamir
Little Pamir
is the Tegermansu Valley, from where the closed Tegermansu Pass (4,827 m) leads to China. The Great Pamir or Big Pamir, a 60 km long valley south of Zorkol
Zorkol
lake, drained by the Pamir River, lies to the northwest of the Little Pamir. The mountain range that divides the two Pamirs is known as the Nicholas Range.[4] West of the Nicholas Range, between the Great Pamir and the lower valley of the Wakhan
Wakhan
River, is the Wakhan
Wakhan
Range, which culminates in the Koh-e Pamir (6,320 m). The roads in the region have small shrines to Ismaili
Ismaili
Muslim pirs and are adorned with "special stones and curled ibex and sheep horns", which are symbols of purity in the Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
faiths, once present in the region before the arrival of Islam.[5] Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor[edit] Main article: Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor The Wakhan
Wakhan
is connected to Tashkurgan Tajik County, China, by a long, narrow strip called the Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor, which separates the Gorno-Badakhshan
Gorno-Badakhshan
region of Tajikistan
Tajikistan
from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
and Gilgit-Baltistan
Gilgit-Baltistan
of Pakistan.

Wakhan
Wakhan
between Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and Tajikistan

The Wakhan River
Wakhan River
flows through the corridor from the east to Qila-e Panja where it joins the Pamir River
Pamir River
to become the Panj River
Panj River
which then forms the border. In the south the corridor is bordered by the high mountains of the Hindu Kush, crossed by the Broghol
Broghol
pass, the Irshad Pass
Irshad Pass
and the disused Dilisang Pass[6] to Pakistan. History[edit] See also: Durand Line Historically the Wakhan
Wakhan
has been an important region for thousands of years as it is where the Western and Eastern portions of Central Asia meet. Western Wakhan
Wakhan
(休密 Xiumi) was conquered in the early part of the 1st century CE by Kujula Kadphises, the first "Great Kushan," and was one of the five xihou or principalities that formed the nucleus of the original Kushan
Kushan
kingdom.[7] Until 1883 Wakhan
Wakhan
was a principality on both sides of the Panj and Pamir Rivers, ruled by a hereditary ruler (mir) with his capital at Qila-e Panja.[8] In the 1880s, under pressure from Britain, Abdur Rahman Khan the Emir of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
imposed Afghan rule on the Wakhan.[9] Agreements between Britain and Russia
Russia
in 1873 and between Britain and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
in 1893 effectively split the historic area of Wakhan
Wakhan
by making the Panj and Pamir Rivers the border between Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and the Russian Empire.[2] On its south side, the Durand Line
Durand Line
agreement of 1893 marked the boundary between British India
British India
and Afghanistan. This left a narrow strip of land as a buffer between the two empires. In 1949, when Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
completed the Communist takeover of China, the borders were permanently closed, sealing off the 2,000-year-old caravan route and turning the corridor into a cul-de-sac. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan
Afghanistan
in December 1979, they occupied the Wakhan and built strong military posts at Sarhad-e Broghil
Sarhad-e Broghil
and elsewhere. To facilitate access they built a bridge across the Pamir River
Pamir River
at Prip, near Gaz Khan. However, the area did not see fighting.[10] In 2010 the Wakhan
Wakhan
was reported to be peaceful and unaffected by the war in the rest of Afghanistan.[11] Demographics[edit] Wakhi, Kyrgyz and Khowar are the major ethnic groups of Wakhan. Wakhan is sparsely populated. The total population is estimated at about 10,600.[10] Most of its inhabitants speak the Vakhi or Wakhi language (x̌ik zik), and belong to an ethnic group known as Vakhi or Wakhi. Nomadic Kyrgyz herders live at the higher altitudes.[12] According to a 2003 report by the United Nations Environment Programme and Food and Agriculture Organization, the population of Wakhan suffers from lack of education, poverty, ill health, food insecurity and opium addiction.[10] Wakhi[edit] Main article: Wakhi people The Wakhi population of Wakhan
Wakhan
was 9,444 in 2003.[10] Almost all of them adhere to the Shia Ismaili
Ismaili
faith and some of them speak Ishkashimi language.[12] Wakhi people
Wakhi people
also inhabit several areas adjacent to the Wakhan
Wakhan
in Tajikistan, Pakistan
Pakistan
and China. The Wakhi practice agriculture in the river valleys, and herd animals in the summer pastures at higher elevations. The dominant sect of Islam in the region is wahabi, much milder than the strict form of Islam generally practiced in the country. However, in Ishkashim, the city at the western mouth of the Wakhan, stricter observance is demanded. The area has been long neglected by the central government of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and the people are poor, many being traditional pastoralists living in yurts and lacking basic services. However non-governmental organizations such as the Aga Khan Development Network have taken an interest in the area. The Central Asia Institute, founded by Greg Mortenson, has built 11 schools in the region.[11] There is a trickle of tourists who engage in trekking and mountaineering.[11] Alastair Leithead on BBC News 24
BBC News 24
on 26 December 2007, presented a half-hour feature about Wakhan, focusing particularly on the work of expatriate British Doctor Alexander Duncan, which provided a significant piece of extended media reporting from this inaccessible area.[13] He has also covered the Pamir Festival in the area.[14] Kyrgyz[edit] The Kyrgyz population of Wakhan
Wakhan
was 1,130 in 2003, all in the eastern part of Wakhan.[10] The Kyrgyz are Sunni
Sunni
Hanafi
Hanafi
Muslims. The suppression of the 1916 rebellion against Russian rule in Central Asia caused many Kyrgyz later to migrate to China and Afghanistan. Most of Kyrgyz refugees settled in Wakhan
Wakhan
region of Afghanistan. Until 1978 the northeastern portion of Wakhan
Wakhan
(the Great Pamir and the Little Pamir) was home to about 3–5 thousand ethnic Kyrgyz.[15][16] In 1978 almost all the Kyrgyz inhabitants fled to Pakistan
Pakistan
in the aftermath of the Saur Revolution. They requested 5,000 visas from the United States Consulate in Peshawar
Peshawar
for resettlement in Alaska
Alaska
(a region that shares a similar climate and temperature with the Wakhan Corridor). Their request was denied. In the meantime, the heat and the unsanitary conditions of the refugee camp were killing off the Kyrgyz refugees at an alarming rate. Turkey
Turkey
which was under the military coup rule of General Kenan Evren, stepped in, and resettled the entire group in the Lake Van
Lake Van
region of Turkey
Turkey
in 1982. The village of Ulupamir (or “Great Pamir” in Kyrgyz) in Erciş
Erciş
on Lake Van
Lake Van
was given to these, where more than 5,000 of them still reside today. The documentary film "37 Uses for a Dead Sheep – the story of the Pamir Kirghiz" was based on the life of these Kyrgyz/Kirgiz in their new home. Kyrgyz from Wakhan
Wakhan
region of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
moved to Pakistan
Pakistan
in the 1970s. Nearly 1,100 of these were accepted by Turkey
Turkey
to settle in Ulupamir (or “Great Pamir” in Kyrgyz), their resettlement village in Van Province.[17] Some Kyrgyz returned to the Wakhan
Wakhan
in October 1979, following the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.[8] Kho[edit] The Kho (or Khowar) population of Wakhan
Wakhan
was 1,230 in 2003, all in the eastern part of Wakhan. The Khos are Sunni
Sunni
and Ismaili
Ismaili
Muslims. Tourism[edit] In recent years the Wakhan
Wakhan
has become a destination for adventurous trekkers, and several tour companies are offering trips to the area.[18] BBC correspondent John Simpson has recommended the area as a place to take a wonderful, and relatively safe, holiday.[19] Kate Humble, a BBC television presenter, reports that the area is beautiful and the people friendly.[20] Popular culture[edit] The Wakhan
Wakhan
plays a large role in Greg Mortenson's book, Stones into Schools. This book tells the story of the building of a school in the Kyrgyz village of Bozai Gumbaz. However, the factual accuracy of this account is strongly disputed in Jon Krakauer's ebook Three Cups of Deceit. Footnotes[edit]

^ Hermann Kreutzmann (2005): The Significance of Geopolitical Issues for Development of Mountainous Areas of Central Asia Map at p.12 ^ a b International Boundary Study of the Afghanistan-USSR Boundary (1983) by the US Bureau of Intelligence and Research ^ Aga Khan Development Network (2010): Wakhan
Wakhan
and the Afghan Pamir p.3 ^ "Pamir and Wakhan
Wakhan
Geography". Juldu.com. Retrieved 2012-09-27.  ^ Isaacson, Andy (17 December 2009). "Pamir Mountains, the Crossroads of History". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 January 2015.  ^ The pass was crossed by a couple in 1950 and by a couple in 2004. See J.Mock and K. O'Neil: Expedition Report ^ Hill, John E. 2004. The Western Regions according to the Hou Hanshu. Draft annotated English translation. Chapter 13 ^ a b "Hermann Kreutzmann (2003) ''Ethnic minorities and marginality in the Pamirian Knot''" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-27.  ^ *Library of Congress – Country Study of Afghanistan ^ a b c d e "Wak.p65" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-27.  ^ a b c Wong, Edward (27 October 2010). "In Icy Tip of Afghanistan, War Seems Remote". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 October 2010.  ^ a b Shahrani, M. Nazif. (1979) ^ Leithead, Alastair (11 September 2007). "Doctor on call in Afghanistan". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-09-27.  ^ "Pamir Times". Pamirtimes.wordpress.com. 20 November 2007. Retrieved 2012-09-27.  ^ FACTBOX-Key facts about the Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor. Reuters. 12 June 2009 ^ "Mock and O'Neil, Expedition Report (2004)". Mockandoneil.com. Retrieved 2012-09-27.  ^ EurasiaNet (20 May 2012). "Turkey: Kyrgyz Nomads Struggle To Make Peace With Settled Existence". Eurasiareview.com. Retrieved 2012-09-27.  ^ Sleight, Christopher Tourism plan for Afghan mountains 25 February 2010 ^ Jamieson, Emma BBC's John Simpson recommends: Trek Afghanistan
Afghanistan
7 February 2010 ^ Humble, Kate (6 February 2010), "War and peace: Kate Humble
Kate Humble
treks into Afghanistan", Independent on Sunday, retrieved 25 July 2010 

References[edit]

Gordon, T. E. 1876. The Roof of the World: Being the Narrative of a Journey over the high plateau of Tibet to the Russian Frontier and the Oxus
Oxus
sources on Pamir. Edinburgh. Edmonston and Douglas. Reprint: Ch’eng Wen Publishing Company. Taipei. 1971. Kokaisl, Petr. The lifestyles and changes in culture of Afghan Kyrgyz and Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan. Asian Ethnicity. 2013, vol. 14, issue 4, pages 407-433. ISSN 1463-1369. Online Shahrani, M. Nazif. (1979) The Kirghiz and Wakhi of Afghanistan: Adaptation to Closed Frontiers and War. University of Washington Press. 1st paperback edition with new preface and epilogue (2002). ISBN 0-295-98262-4. Stein, Aurel M. 1921a. Serindia: Detailed report of explorations in Central Asia and westernmost China, 5 vols. London & Oxford. Clarendon Press. Reprint: Delhi. Motilal Banarsidass. 1980. [1] Stein Aurel M. 1921. “A Chinese expedition across the Pamirs and Hindukush, A.D. 747.” Indian Antiquary 1923. From: www.pears2.lib.Ohio-state.edu/ FULLTEXT/TR-ENG/aurel.htm. Last modified 24 June 1997. Retrieved 13 January 1999. Stein Aurel M. 1928. Innermost Asia: Detailed report of explorations in Central Asia, Kan-su and Eastern Iran, 5 vols. Clarendon Press. Reprint: New Delhi. Cosmo Publications. 1981. Stein Aurel M. 1929. On Alexander's Track to the Indus: Personal Narrative of Explorations on the North-west Frontier of India. London. Reprint, New York, Benjamin Blom, 1972.

External links[edit]

Afghanistan
Afghanistan
portal Tajikistan
Tajikistan
portal Geography portal

Photo Essay on Afghan Kyrgyz in Wakhan
Wakhan
and on the group Kyrgyz that migrated to Turkey
Turkey
from the Wakhan Aga Khan Development Network: Wakhan
Wakhan
and the Afghan Pamir (2010) Juldu.com Photos and Online guide to trekking in the Wakhan
Wakhan
and Afghan Pamir Wakhan
Wakhan
Development Partnership A project working to improve the lives of the people of Wakhan
Wakhan
since 2003 Wakhan Corridor
Wakhan Corridor
Photos from Afghan Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor Little Pamir
Little Pamir
Photos of Life of Kirghiz in Afghanistan's Little Pamir Photos From Afghanistan: Natural Beauty, Not War – slideshow by NPR [2] Ride Report of two Polish motorcyclists who rode to Wakhan
Wakhan
from Poland in 2009 Wong, Edward. "In Icy Tip of Afghanistan, War Seems Remote." The New York Times. 27 October 2010. Portfolio of images from summer 2010 trek through the Afghan Pamir by Zygmunt Korytkowski, photographer and traveller. Photos from the Wakhan Corridor
Wakhan Corridor
Albums mainly from the Eastern part of Wakhan
Wakhan
(Big and Little Pamir) inhabited by Kirghiz nomads. Polish Climbing Expedition " Afghanistan
Afghanistan
2010" Climbing in the Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor Caravanistan.com Wak

.