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The Wakhan Corridor

The Wakhanprotrudes long and thin from the far north-east of Afghanistan all the way to China. Pakistan to the south and Tajikistan to the north. It's emblematic of territory that has been fought over, not for its resources, but for its value as a buffer zone between the empires that have sought control in the region over the past 150 years.

The border that defines The Wakhan, however, is far from an arbitrary. The mythical "Corridor" comprises the tallest peaks of the Hindu Kush penetrated by only a spattering of semi-nomadic Kyrgyz tribes and the hardiest of adventurers. It's no coincidence that it remains one of the few regions of the country that the Taliban have failed to step foot in to this day.

While breathtaking, the environment is harsh. The Wakhan's elevation and brutal winters provide meagre agricultural opportunities. It's roughly 12,000 residents survive on what they can cultivate and store during the few warmer months when the earth thaws. Most also have small herds of livestock which provide food as well as a means of trade.

Like the territory itself, Wakhanis seem insulated from the turmoil that has gripped greater Afghanistan the last four decades. However foreigners are welcomed in the Wakhan,without any sense of suspicion.

The iconic blue burqa—ubiquitous elsewhere—is nowhere to be seen. Instead, women and girls wear vibrant, red scarves that flow from round skull-caps as they undertake daily chores which seem less dictated by gender than elsewhere in Afghanistan.

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