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Taliban

Titik Nol 206: Afganistan, Saya Datang

Khyber Pass yang termashyur (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO) KOMPAS.com — Masuk ke mulut singa. Begitulah yang saya rasakan ketika akhirnya saya melihat papan besar, bertuliskan  “FOREIGNERS ARE NOT ALLOWED BEYOND THIS POINT”. Inilah pintu gerbang Khyber Agency, salah satu dari tribal area yang tersohor itu, di mana orang asing tidak diperbolehkan masuk tanpa surat izin dari Political Agent di Peshawar. Gerbang ini adalah tempat dimulainya daerah tanpa hukum. Yang berlaku selepas ini adalah hukum adat Pashtun. Mata balas mata. Darah balas darah. Dari sekian banyak agency, unit wilayah tribal area di Pakistan, semuanya adalah sumber masalah bagi negara ini. Kata tribal sering diorientasikan dengan keterbelakangan, primitif, dan kekacauan. Dalam kasusnya di Pakistan, memang tidak ada berita bagus tentang tribal area. Taliban, opium, senjata ilegal, hashish, penculikan, perang, bom, tanpa hukum, pemberontakan. Semuanya kumpulan kosa kata berkonotasi negatif. Khyber agency, yang pintu gerbangnya ada di depan mata saya sekarang, adalah urat nadi utama yang menghubungkan Peshawar ke Kabul melintasi Celah Khyber. Nama Khyber sudah membangkitkan nostalgia masa lalu, celah di gunung-gunung yang dilewati para penakluk dunia, mulai dari Iskander Yang Agung, raja-raja Persia, Turki, Mongol, hingga pasukan kolonial Inggris. Sekarang, tempat ini juga sudah mulai dirambah Taliban, didukung Lashkar-i-Islami, pasukan suku setempat, yang [...]

June 6, 2015 // 11 Comments

Titik Nol 205: Pasar Senjata

Pistol yang disamarkan dalam bentuk pena dijual bebas di Darra (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO) Hembusan ganas Afghanistan sudah terendus di Peshawar. Tak lebih dari 40 kilometer sebelah selatan Peshawar, di tengah jalan utama menuju Kohat, terletak desa Darra Adam Khel. Dari luar memang nampak seperti desa Pakistan biasa. Kumuh, semrawut, dan berdebu. Yang tak biasa adalah, desingan tembakan yang tiada henti. Ini adalah tempat di mana segala macam senjata dan bedil dibuat di balik tembok rumah-rumah, dan anak-anak bermain butir-butir peluru menggantikan kelereng. Tak banyak tempat yang benar-benar wild west seperti Darra Adam Khel. Orang-orang bebas membeli dan mencoba segala macam senapan di sini. Mulai dari Kalashnikov, M-16, hingga bolpoint dan tongkat yang bisa menembak. Kakek tua bersurban dan berjenggot putih, keluar dari sebuah toko dengan senyum. Kemudian dia menembakkan M-16 nya ke udara. Tiga tembakan. Nampaknya dia cukup puas dengan bedil barunya. Langit Darra dipenuhi suara-suara tembakan yang menyalak-nyalak tanpa henti. Saya dikejutkan lebih dari sepuluh kali ketika menyeruput segelas teh panas di kedai. Hati saya penuh tanda tanya, ke mana jatuhnya peluru yang ditembakkan tegak lurus ke atas? Sesuai prinsip gravitasi, peluru itu pasti akan jatuh lagi ke bumi. Adakah dia jatuh kembali kepada si penembaknya? Atau nyasar menembus atap [...]

June 5, 2015 // 2 Comments

Titik Nol 204: Kamp Pengungsi

Bocah pengungsi Afghan di kamp pengungsian Kacha Garhi, dalam kemonotonan warna kehidupan (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO) Pulang. Mengapa harus pulang? Rumah sudah menjadi puing-puing. Tidak ada pekerjaan. Tidak ada roti. Tidak ada impian. Tidak ada yang tertinggal lagi, kecuali selimut debu, kerumunan orang-orang lapar, hancurnya kebanggaan masa lalu yang dibungkus rapat-rapat oleh pasir gurun dan gunung gersang. Bazaar Khyber di jantung kota Peshawar adalah mesin waktu yang melempar saya ke zaman Seribu Satu Malam. Hanya satu warna yang ada: coklat kelabu. Pria-pria bersurban dan berjubah lalu lalang di jalan-jalan pasar Khyber yang berkelok-kelok bak rumah sesat. Di dunia yang hanya dikuasai laki-laki ini, wajah wanita nyaris tak terlihat sama sekali. Pasang-pasang mata besar dan garang mengintip dari balik kain hitam pekat. Itu pun jumlahnya masih bisa dihitung. Keledai dan kuda menarik berbagai macam barang dagangan. Ada bagian yang khusus menjual jubah. Ada yang khusus menjual barang elektronik dari China. Ada lagi bagian baju-baju bekas yang dijual nyaris gratis. Bahkan topi beruntai manikam dari Kandahar, topi pakkol dari Gilgit, hingga peci Melayu, semua ada di bazaar besar ini. Melayu memang pernah singgah di sini. Bukan hanya saya saja yang selalu berpeci untuk membawa identitas ke-Indonesia-an saya, yang hampir tak lagi dikenali lagi ketika [...]

June 4, 2015 // 1 Comment

Titik Nol 165: Negeri Para Petarung (1)

Gunung-gunung Kashmir yang megah (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO) Dari segala kisah-kisah aneh yang saya dengar di sini, tidak ada yang lebih tidak masuk akal daripada cerita tentang orang Kandar, suku petarung di puncak gunung. Kandar adalah sebuah desa kecil terletak di puncak bukit yang terlihat di belakang Noraseri. Jaraknya cuma empat kilometer, naik turun gunung, dan butuh waktu tiga jam untuk mencapainya. Walaupun demikian, bagi sebagian besar orang normal, Kandar sama sekali bukan tempat yang bisa dikunjungi. Ada apa dengan Kandar? Namanya tersohor di seluruh pelosok perbukitan. Tak ada orang Noraseri yang tak kenal desa kecil di atas sana itu. Bahkan di kota pasar Pattika dan Muzaffarabad yang jauh di bawah sana, semua orang pernah mendengar nama desa ini. “Walaupun cuma empat kilometer jauhnya,” kata Rashid, sukarelawan dari Islamabad, “orang Kandar sudah nampak jauh berbeda dari penampilan fisiknya. Mereka selalu berjalan ke mana-mana dengan tongkat kayu. Tongkat ini selalu siap untuk memukul orang. Mereka juga menggantungkan syal di leher.” Saya jadi terbayang pejuang Pashtun di Afghanistan, apalagi nama Kandar mirip dengan Kandahar, kota lahirnya Taliban. “Kalau Afghanistan punya Kandahar, maka Kashmir punya Kandar,” Rashid melanjutkan, “orang-orangnya sama-sama suka perang.” Tanggal 12 Januari 2006, pernah kejadian orang Kandar membajak helikopter yang mengangkut bala [...]

April 10, 2015 // 1 Comment

Wheat Field

Blessed with majestic rivers, Wakhan Corridor is extremely fertile region in dry Afghanistan. Sparsely populated and well hidden from the rest of the world, Wakhan Corridor is as medieval today as it was over 700 years ago when Marco Polo passed through. The awkward tongue of Afghanistan, located at the northeastern tip of the country, is a 200-mile-long valley that stretches between Tajikistan and Pakistan. A strategic territory created by the once-reigning British Empire at the end of the 19th century, Wakhan Corridor was first attached to Afghan territory as a buffer zone between Britain and Russia. Though the battle for supremacy between the two giants has long ended, little seems to have changed since then. Time has been suspended for what seems like eternity. The corridor’s isolation from the rest of the world makes Afghan’s narrow passage – only 10 miles wide – at once mysterious and enchanting. With the snow-capped mountains surrounding the region, it’s easy for outsiders to forget the once-vital passageway between the Eastern and Western parts of Central Asia. It took me more than five days to reach Ishkashim, the tip of Wakhan Corridor, by public transportation from Kabul. Wobbly and narrow wooden bridges hang [...]

January 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

Beautiful Colors

A woman is preparing colored thread to make clothing for the coming winter. As there is virtually no market in Wakhan Corridor, every family has to be self-sufficient with their basic needs, including clothing. Sparsely populated and well hidden from the rest of the world, Wakhan Corridor is as medieval today as it was over 700 years ago when Marco Polo passed through. The awkward tongue of Afghanistan, located at the northeastern tip of the country, is a 200-mile-long valley that stretches between Tajikistan and Pakistan. A strategic territory created by the once-reigning British Empire at the end of the 19th century, Wakhan Corridor was first attached to Afghan territory as a buffer zone between Britain and Russia. Though the battle for supremacy between the two giants has long ended, little seems to have changed since then. Time has been suspended for what seems like eternity. The corridor’s isolation from the rest of the world makes Afghan’s narrow passage – only 10 miles wide – at once mysterious and enchanting. With the snow-capped mountains surrounding the region, it’s easy for outsiders to forget the once-vital passageway between the Eastern and Western parts of Central Asia. It took me more than [...]

January 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

Entertainment

With no electricity available, old radio and tape recorder is still the main source of entertainment for the people in Afghan Wakhan Corridor. Sparsely populated and well hidden from the rest of the world, Wakhan Corridor is as medieval today as it was over 700 years ago when Marco Polo passed through. The awkward tongue of Afghanistan, located at the northeastern tip of the country, is a 200-mile-long valley that stretches between Tajikistan and Pakistan. A strategic territory created by the once-reigning British Empire at the end of the 19th century, Wakhan Corridor was first attached to Afghan territory as a buffer zone between Britain and Russia. Though the battle for supremacy between the two giants has long ended, little seems to have changed since then. Time has been suspended for what seems like eternity. The corridor’s isolation from the rest of the world makes Afghan’s narrow passage – only 10 miles wide – at once mysterious and enchanting. With the snow-capped mountains surrounding the region, it’s easy for outsiders to forget the once-vital passageway between the Eastern and Western parts of Central Asia. It took me more than five days to reach Ishkashim, the tip of Wakhan Corridor, by [...]

January 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

Border Post

Border posts and checkpoints are common in Wakhan Corridor, as this area is sensitive border region which connect Afghanistan with the (ultra-closely-)neighboring Pakistan and Tajikistan. Sparsely populated and well hidden from the rest of the world, Wakhan Corridor is as medieval today as it was over 700 years ago when Marco Polo passed through. The awkward tongue of Afghanistan, located at the northeastern tip of the country, is a 200-mile-long valley that stretches between Tajikistan and Pakistan. A strategic territory created by the once-reigning British Empire at the end of the 19th century, Wakhan Corridor was first attached to Afghan territory as a buffer zone between Britain and Russia. Though the battle for supremacy between the two giants has long ended, little seems to have changed since then. Time has been suspended for what seems like eternity. The corridor’s isolation from the rest of the world makes Afghan’s narrow passage – only 10 miles wide – at once mysterious and enchanting. With the snow-capped mountains surrounding the region, it’s easy for outsiders to forget the once-vital passageway between the Eastern and Western parts of Central Asia. It took me more than five days to reach Ishkashim, the tip of Wakhan [...]

January 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

Ready to Fight

An Afghan border guard is on duty to guard the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan at the Wakhan valley. The border is only a river and is notorious for illegal border crossings, especially in winter when the water levels of the Amu River decrease. Sparsely populated and well hidden from the rest of the world, Wakhan Corridor is as medieval today as it was over 700 years ago when Marco Polo passed through. The awkward tongue of Afghanistan, located at the northeastern tip of the country, is a 200-mile-long valley that stretches between Tajikistan and Pakistan. A strategic territory created by the once-reigning British Empire at the end of the 19th century, Wakhan Corridor was first attached to Afghan territory as a buffer zone between Britain and Russia. Though the battle for supremacy between the two giants has long ended, little seems to have changed since then. Time has been suspended for what seems like eternity. The corridor’s isolation from the rest of the world makes Afghan’s narrow passage – only 10 miles wide – at once mysterious and enchanting. With the snow-capped mountains surrounding the region, it’s easy for outsiders to forget the once-vital passageway between the Eastern and [...]

January 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

Me and My Hero

A young border guard stands next to a tapestry portraying Ahmad Shah Massoud, the great Tajik hero from the Panjsheer Valley. Massoud is now regarded as Afghanistan’s national hero and his poster can be found everywhere throughout the country. Sparsely populated and well hidden from the rest of the world, Wakhan Corridor is as medieval today as it was over 700 years ago when Marco Polo passed through. The awkward tongue of Afghanistan, located at the northeastern tip of the country, is a 200-mile-long valley that stretches between Tajikistan and Pakistan. A strategic territory created by the once-reigning British Empire at the end of the 19th century, Wakhan Corridor was first attached to Afghan territory as a buffer zone between Britain and Russia. Though the battle for supremacy between the two giants has long ended, little seems to have changed since then. Time has been suspended for what seems like eternity. The corridor’s isolation from the rest of the world makes Afghan’s narrow passage – only 10 miles wide – at once mysterious and enchanting. With the snow-capped mountains surrounding the region, it’s easy for outsiders to forget the once-vital passageway between the Eastern and Western parts of Central Asia. [...]

January 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

Mountain Border

Commander of Afghanistan border police of Wakhan is guarding the sensitive border with Tajikistan. Both countries share 1100 km border mostly only separated by the flow of Amu River. Sparsely populated and well hidden from the rest of the world, Wakhan Corridor is as medieval today as it was over 700 years ago when Marco Polo passed through. The awkward tongue of Afghanistan, located at the northeastern tip of the country, is a 200-mile-long valley that stretches between Tajikistan and Pakistan. A strategic territory created by the once-reigning British Empire at the end of the 19th century, Wakhan Corridor was first attached to Afghan territory as a buffer zone between Britain and Russia. Though the battle for supremacy between the two giants has long ended, little seems to have changed since then. Time has been suspended for what seems like eternity. The corridor’s isolation from the rest of the world makes Afghan’s narrow passage – only 10 miles wide – at once mysterious and enchanting. With the snow-capped mountains surrounding the region, it’s easy for outsiders to forget the once-vital passageway between the Eastern and Western parts of Central Asia. It took me more than five days to reach Ishkashim, [...]

January 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

The King and the Guard

Saeed Ismail, or Shah-e-Panjah (King of Panjah), the leader of Ismaili people in whole Wakhan Valley, is in discussion with an Afghan military officer on the procedure of opening border for the weekly international market with Tajikistan. The international market between Afghanistan and Tajikistan is sponsored by the Aga Khan Foundation to boost the economy of the Ismaili communities in both countries. Some bridges are built and renovated to connect the severely split Ismaili communities by the border lines, including in Khorog, Ghoz Khan, and Ishkashim. The border market in Ghoz Khan was planned as a monthly event but up till today it was only held once on August 1, 2006. Sparsely populated and well hidden from the rest of the world, Wakhan Corridor is as medieval today as it was over 700 years ago when Marco Polo passed through. The awkward tongue of Afghanistan, located at the northeastern tip of the country, is a 200-mile-long valley that stretches between Tajikistan and Pakistan. A strategic territory created by the once-reigning British Empire at the end of the 19th century, Wakhan Corridor was first attached to Afghan territory as a buffer zone between Britain and Russia. Though the battle for supremacy [...]

January 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

Kalashnikov

A local Wakhan man sits next to a Kalashnikov gun. The Wakhan Corridor is a sensitive border area between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, which are separated only by the river of Amu Darya with many villages scattered along the villages. Sparsely populated and well hidden from the rest of the world, Wakhan Corridor is as medieval today as it was over 700 years ago when Marco Polo passed through. The awkward tongue of Afghanistan, located at the northeastern tip of the country, is a 200-mile-long valley that stretches between Tajikistan and Pakistan. A strategic territory created by the once-reigning British Empire at the end of the 19th century, Wakhan Corridor was first attached to Afghan territory as a buffer zone between Britain and Russia. Though the battle for supremacy between the two giants has long ended, little seems to have changed since then. Time has been suspended for what seems like eternity. The corridor’s isolation from the rest of the world makes Afghan’s narrow passage – only 10 miles wide – at once mysterious and enchanting. With the snow-capped mountains surrounding the region, it’s easy for outsiders to forget the once-vital passageway between the Eastern and Western parts of Central Asia. [...]

January 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

Tractor

Villagers of Wakhan Corridor travel on tractor. Transport in the corridor, a valley of 15 km wide sandwiched by Tajikistan and Pakistan, is extremely difficult as roads are unpaved and public transport service is non-existent. Locals have to walk or ride horses for hours, if not days, to visit other villages in the region. Sparsely populated and well hidden from the rest of the world, Wakhan Corridor is as medieval today as it was over 700 years ago when Marco Polo passed through. The awkward tongue of Afghanistan, located at the northeastern tip of the country, is a 200-mile-long valley that stretches between Tajikistan and Pakistan. A strategic territory created by the once-reigning British Empire at the end of the 19th century, Wakhan Corridor was first attached to Afghan territory as a buffer zone between Britain and Russia. Though the battle for supremacy between the two giants has long ended, little seems to have changed since then. Time has been suspended for what seems like eternity. The corridor’s isolation from the rest of the world makes Afghan’s narrow passage – only 10 miles wide – at once mysterious and enchanting. With the snow-capped mountains surrounding the region, it’s easy for [...]

January 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

Salty

Sipping salty milk tea for breakfast is good to start a day in mountainous Wakhan Corridor. Sparsely populated and well hidden from the rest of the world, Wakhan Corridor is as medieval today as it was over 700 years ago when Marco Polo passed through. The awkward tongue of Afghanistan, located at the northeastern tip of the country, is a 200-mile-long valley that stretches between Tajikistan and Pakistan. A strategic territory created by the once-reigning British Empire at the end of the 19th century, Wakhan Corridor was first attached to Afghan territory as a buffer zone between Britain and Russia. Though the battle for supremacy between the two giants has long ended, little seems to have changed since then. Time has been suspended for what seems like eternity. The corridor’s isolation from the rest of the world makes Afghan’s narrow passage – only 10 miles wide – at once mysterious and enchanting. With the snow-capped mountains surrounding the region, it’s easy for outsiders to forget the once-vital passageway between the Eastern and Western parts of Central Asia. It took me more than five days to reach Ishkashim, the tip of Wakhan Corridor, by public transportation from Kabul. Wobbly and narrow [...]

January 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

Rescue effort

Villagers from two villages in Wakhan Corridor come to rescue a jeep sank in the mud river. The work is led by a commander of Afghan Border Police. Sparsely populated and well hidden from the rest of the world, Wakhan Corridor is as medieval today as it was over 700 years ago when Marco Polo passed through. The awkward tongue of Afghanistan, located at the northeastern tip of the country, is a 200-mile-long valley that stretches between Tajikistan and Pakistan. A strategic territory created by the once-reigning British Empire at the end of the 19th century, Wakhan Corridor was first attached to Afghan territory as a buffer zone between Britain and Russia. Though the battle for supremacy between the two giants has long ended, little seems to have changed since then. Time has been suspended for what seems like eternity. The corridor’s isolation from the rest of the world makes Afghan’s narrow passage – only 10 miles wide – at once mysterious and enchanting. With the snow-capped mountains surrounding the region, it’s easy for outsiders to forget the once-vital passageway between the Eastern and Western parts of Central Asia. It took me more than five days to reach Ishkashim, the [...]

January 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

Hand in Hand

Villagers of Wakhan Corridor are working together to alter the river flow which floods the main road. The Afghanistan part of Wakhan Corridor is undeveloped and transport in summer is difficult due to river overflow. It’s not uncommon roads become totally impassable as vehicles sink in the middle of water or mud. Sparsely populated and well hidden from the rest of the world, Wakhan Corridor is as medieval today as it was over 700 years ago when Marco Polo passed through. The awkward tongue of Afghanistan, located at the northeastern tip of the country, is a 200-mile-long valley that stretches between Tajikistan and Pakistan. A strategic territory created by the once-reigning British Empire at the end of the 19th century, Wakhan Corridor was first attached to Afghan territory as a buffer zone between Britain and Russia. Though the battle for supremacy between the two giants has long ended, little seems to have changed since then. Time has been suspended for what seems like eternity. The corridor’s isolation from the rest of the world makes Afghan’s narrow passage – only 10 miles wide – at once mysterious and enchanting. With the snow-capped mountains surrounding the region, it’s easy for outsiders to [...]

January 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

Stuck

With not so much infrastructure, traveling in Wakhan region is difficult and slow. Our jeep was sunk many times in mud-flooded road. Sparsely populated and well hidden from the rest of the world, Wakhan Corridor is as medieval today as it was over 700 years ago when Marco Polo passed through. The awkward tongue of Afghanistan, located at the northeastern tip of the country, is a 200-mile-long valley that stretches between Tajikistan and Pakistan. A strategic territory created by the once-reigning British Empire at the end of the 19th century, Wakhan Corridor was first attached to Afghan territory as a buffer zone between Britain and Russia. Though the battle for supremacy between the two giants has long ended, little seems to have changed since then. Time has been suspended for what seems like eternity. The corridor’s isolation from the rest of the world makes Afghan’s narrow passage – only 10 miles wide – at once mysterious and enchanting. With the snow-capped mountains surrounding the region, it’s easy for outsiders to forget the once-vital passageway between the Eastern and Western parts of Central Asia. It took me more than five days to reach Ishkashim, the tip of Wakhan Corridor, by public [...]

January 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

Borderline

An Afghan border police commander is patrolling along the sensitive border region of Wakhan Corridor, Badakhshan province. The area is separated from Tajikistan’s GBAO province by the Amu River. The mountains seen in this picture is inside Tajikistan territory. Sparsely populated and well hidden from the rest of the world, Wakhan Corridor is as medieval today as it was over 700 years ago when Marco Polo passed through. The awkward tongue of Afghanistan, located at the northeastern tip of the country, is a 200-mile-long valley that stretches between Tajikistan and Pakistan. A strategic territory created by the once-reigning British Empire at the end of the 19th century, Wakhan Corridor was first attached to Afghan territory as a buffer zone between Britain and Russia. Though the battle for supremacy between the two giants has long ended, little seems to have changed since then. Time has been suspended for what seems like eternity. The corridor’s isolation from the rest of the world makes Afghan’s narrow passage – only 10 miles wide – at once mysterious and enchanting. With the snow-capped mountains surrounding the region, it’s easy for outsiders to forget the once-vital passageway between the Eastern and Western parts of Central Asia. [...]

January 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

Mobile Phone Dream

Children from the Wakhan valley play in the field with made-in-China mobile phone toy. Mobile phones, as well as landline phone and electricity, have not reached the area yet. Sparsely populated and well hidden from the rest of the world, Wakhan Corridor is as medieval today as it was over 700 years ago when Marco Polo passed through. The awkward tongue of Afghanistan, located at the northeastern tip of the country, is a 200-mile-long valley that stretches between Tajikistan and Pakistan. A strategic territory created by the once-reigning British Empire at the end of the 19th century, Wakhan Corridor was first attached to Afghan territory as a buffer zone between Britain and Russia. Though the battle for supremacy between the two giants has long ended, little seems to have changed since then. Time has been suspended for what seems like eternity. The corridor’s isolation from the rest of the world makes Afghan’s narrow passage – only 10 miles wide – at once mysterious and enchanting. With the snow-capped mountains surrounding the region, it’s easy for outsiders to forget the once-vital passageway between the Eastern and Western parts of Central Asia. It took me more than five days to reach Ishkashim, [...]

January 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

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