Afghanistan – What To See

Former fort - Qala-e-Panja, Afghanistan

Former fort – Qala-e-Panja, Afghanistan

Afghanistan is the most beautiful country I have ever seen – their mountains command your attention. My experience was limited to the region of the Wakhan Corridor.  Ishkashim is the border town and only entry point to the area and I found this to be a fascinating and friendly place.  However, you will need to invest some time to interact with the stall owners to uncover the town’s greatest resource – its people.  After some time you could be invited to partake in tea and a chat.  I am unsure if such an offer would be made to solo women.

The Wakhan Corridor is a spectacular area backed by the imposing mountains of the Hindu Kush on one side (with peaks in excess of 7000 metres). There are three sections when travelling this route. The actual Wakhan Corridor is the area from Ishkashim to Qala e-Panja where one follows the Panj River that borders Tajikistan. Travel along this entire journey is very slow due to the conditions of the road, figure on around twenty kilometres per hour.  I was delayed for two hours by officials at Khandud, and according to others in the area, these officials can create bureaucratic problems for tourists travelling through the area.

The Big Pamir encompasses the section from Qala e-Panja to Sarhad-e Broghil and it leaves the Tajik border to pass through some wonderful mountain scenery. I particularly liked the village of Qala Ouest on the south side of the road. They have a guest house (which I did not stay in) but the village was most picturesque.

The Little Pamir was the only section that I did not visit, and comprises the area after Sarhad e-Broghil.  To travel through there you need a lot of time and energy, as there are no roads so travel is either by foot or horse.  It could take a week to reach from one side of the Little Pamir to the other.  The scenery here is not as grand as that of the Wakhan Corridor or the Big Pamir.

Mountaineering is a popular pursuit, but I have no personal experience except to say that according to locals, mountains can be unstable, so tackling these is only for the more experienced climber.

I do not have personal experience on other areas of Afghanistan including the reportedly safe cities of Herat and Mazar e-Sharif, the latter which is home to the impressive Shrine of Hazrat Ali.

My blogs about Afghanistan:

The Different Faces of Afghanistan Afghanistan 1
Detained in the Wakhan  Afghanistan 2
A Warm Welcome in a Harsh Land  Afghanistan 3


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