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Asia » Afghanistan » North » Sargaz August 12th 2014

A Varanasi silk-seller once said to me, “Visit India for a week, and you’ll write a good article. Visit India for a month and you’ll write a better one. But visit India for a year, and you won’t even be able to pick up a pen.” I’ve got the same problem with the Afghan Pamirs. I could probably have strung a few paragraphs together after our first day on the track up from Wuzed. My scribbles would have been better the next day after we’d stayed in our first Wakhi village. But now, back in Dushanbe after three weeks’ away, with a spectacular but long four or five days’ drive at each end, and the intensity of the eleven days’ trekking in the middle, I’m struggling to get my thoughts into any kind of order. I ... read more
the Wuzed pass with the Hindu Kush behind
under the lip of the glacier
car pride, Eshkashem-style

Asia » Afghanistan » North September 7th 2010

The path crawled up and up, out of Sarhad-e-Broghil and past the last vestiges of civilisation, the few lonely mud and stone huts and irrigated fields that clung loosely to the outskirts of the village at the end of the 200km road that led east from Ishkashim. Sarhad was apparently at 3300m above sea level, and the pass we had to cross today about 1000m higher, but any thoughts or feelings of tiredness and altitude sickness were banished by the excitement of finally beginning my journey into the roadless Afghan Pamir. Eventually we reached the pass, a small, relatively flat, grassy expanse of land that took ten minutes to cross. Orange, furry marmot heads popped out of their burrows to our left and right as we passed to trill at one another in their bizarre, high ... read more
The old Badakhshi man from Karchynd
Wadud
Milking, Sang Nawishta

Asia » Afghanistan » North August 24th 2010

I realised something was wrong in Ishkashim as soon as I arrived. It took an extraordinary event to help me put my finger on exactly what was strange about the place and when it happened I was gobsmacked that I had not noticed before. The event occurred after I had been wandering up and down the town's two central streets, lined with shops selling clothing, carpets and household utensils, for thirty minutes: it was the appearance of four blue ghosts who floated silently down the dusty, pebble strewn main street. This, my first sighting of Aghan women, was in fact no sighting at all, because not one of them was showing an inch of skin or hair; there were not even slits for their eyes in their veils. Before this the street had been bustling, but ... read more
Said Faqir's relatives
A village between Sargaz and Ptukh
Said Faqir's relatives

Asia » Afghanistan » North » Kunduz May 18th 2010

Chris Carter, Daniel Saville and David Taylor. Three men who, as I write, may have lost their lives in the crash of the Pamir Air flight from Kunduz to Kabul on Monday 17th May. The three Britishers were members of the security team for the company that I'm currently advising here. Chris Carter was the senior security manager, a former paratrooper, Dan Saville and David Taylor worked for the security contractor Global Security. David had only been in Afghanistan a couple of weeks because he wanted a change from Iraq. Dan Saville was thinking about leaving the industry and setting up his own business in Manchester, looking after celebrity footballers. Dan and I became good friends; he is a friendly, open-hearted man and all of us 'newbies' liked him. He provided our close protection at the ... read more




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