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Wakhan

【中国国家地理】瓦罕走廊:被遗忘的丝绸之路

Article published in Chinese National Geography, October 2015, on Afghanistan’s forgotten Wakhan Corridor. The Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan is the last piece of the ancient Silk Road, which was still operating few decades ago, but now has turned into an isolated world as it’s confined by the international borders. 古丝绸之路如同一棵大树错综庞杂的根系,铺展于东西方之间。在所有丝路古道中,没有哪条比瓦罕走廊更富神秘色彩的了,它藏身于阿富汗深处,像是硬贴在阿富汗脸上的一条舌头。随着边界的关闭,它从传奇商道变成世界上最偏远难达的地区之一。本文作者在瓦罕走廊进行了长达3年的探访,用鲜活的文字为您揭开瓦罕走廊的神秘面纱。   撰文/Agustinus Wibowo(印尼) 翻译/王飞宇   伊什卡希姆是进入瓦罕走廊的唯一门户 伊什卡希姆是阿富汗山区一个僻静而慢节奏的村庄,遍地泥沼尘沙,这里是通往瓦罕走廊的入口。村子北边的喷赤河翻滚着怒涛,巨大的涛声淹没了世间一切声响。它是阿姆河的支流,也是阿富汗与苏联解体后形成的中亚各国之间的分界线。喷赤河就像一面镜子,分隔开阿富汗和塔吉克斯坦的山峦,两国的村落呈镜像分布在河流两岸。阿富汗伊什卡希姆的“双胞胎姐妹”是塔吉克斯坦山间一个同样叫做伊什卡希姆的村庄。 [...]

November 17, 2015 // 0 Comments

Tajikistan: Tersekat Gunung dan Batas (3)

Serial artikel Tajikistan untuk Chinese National Geography. Masa lalu yang belum sepenuhnya berlalu Dimensi Mimpi Di seberang sungai sana, orang Afghan sering mengatakan kepada saya betapa bagus kehidupan Tajikistan. Jalan ada, listrik ada, mobil ada, perempuan ada, sekolah, pasar, rumah sakit semua ada. Itu dunia yang sempurna. Tetapi berada di sisi Tajikistan sini, barulah saya menyadari bahwa realita tidak seindah apa yang mereka impikan dari seberang sana. Di daerah pegunungan terpencil ini, bensin adalah barang langka. Seorang sopir mengatakan sudah dua bulan ini mobilnya tidak beroperasi sama sekali karena tidak ada bensin. Tiga hari menunggu di Langar barulah saya mendapat tumpangan melanjutkan perjalanan. Mobil kami tidak melulu mengikuti aliran sungai yang menjadi penanda perbatasan Afghanistan, tetapi berbelok menuju Pamir Highway di utara. Celah Khargush, pada ketinggian nyaris 4.000 meter, adalah rintangan terberat. Khargush terletak di dekat Danau Zor Kol, salah satu sumber Sungai Amu Darya. Danau ini juga menjadi perbatasan dengan Afghanistan, sehingga merupakan daerah sensitif dan terdapat pos pemeriksaan militer yang cukup besar. Tak lama setelah melintasi Celah, pemandangan tiba-tiba berubah. Dari tebing gunung yang terjal, sekarang menjadi padang hijau yang datar dan luas. Di kejauhan, terbentang barisan gunung bertudung salju dengan lekuk kurva nyaris membundar. Inilah Pamir yang [...]

September 14, 2015 // 1 Comment

Tajikistan: Tersekat Gunung dan Batas (2)

Serial artikel Tajikistan untuk Chinese National Geography. Sungai Amu Darya, selebar 20 meter, memisahkan Afghanistan dan Tajikistan di kedua sisinya seabad jauhnya. Kerinduan dari Seberang Sungai Gambaran fisik Tajikistan yang paling gamblang dalam imaji kebanyakan orang tentu adalah gunung-gunung tinggi bertudung salju menggapai angkasa. Tidak salah memang. Belahan timur Tajikistan adalah kawasan pegunungan Pamir yang hampir seluruhnya berada di atas ketinggian 3.000 meter, dan dijuluki dengan sangat romantis: Atap Dunia. Jalan beraspal M-41 (dikenal juga sebagai “Pamir Highway”) yang bertabur lubang dan meliuk-liuk di tepi jurang pegunungan cadas yang nyaris tegak lurus ini menghubungkan Dushanbe dengan Pamir. Nama wilayah ini sebenarnya adalah Provinsi Otonomi Pegunungan Badakhshan, atau lebih dikenal dengan singkatan bahasa Rusia: GBAO. Luasnya sekitar 45 persen luas Tajikistan, tetapi populasinya hanya 5 persen penduduk nasional. Jip Rusia kami menyusuri jalan sempit sepanjang tepian Sungai Amu Darya, garis batas alami antara Tajikistan dengan Afghanistan. Lembah sungai tidak terlalu lebar, siapa pun bisa melihat dengan jelas kehidupan di negeri seberang sana. Paralel dengan jalan yang kami lewati di Tajikistan ini adalah sebuah jalan setapak sempit berdebu yang menanjak dan menukik mengikuti punggung pegunungan, tepat di tepi sungai yang bergolak hebat. Seorang pria Afghan beserban terlihat berjalan tertatih-tatih, menggeret keledai malas [...]

September 11, 2015 // 9 Comments

Titik Nol 119: Pelabuhan Darat

Hunza bukan lagi Shangri-La yang tersembunyi, tak terjamah peradaban manusia. Sejak Karakoram Highway selesai dibangun, desa-desa di pegunungan tinggi ini semakin terbuka bersama kemajuan dunia. Pembangunan jalan raya menembus gunung-gunung pada ketinggian di atas 4000 meter bukanlah hal yang mudah. Pemerintah Pakistan dan China bersama-sama mengerjakan proyek ini, membutuhkan waktu 20 tahun, dan baru selesai pada tahun 1986. Panjangnya 1300 kilometer, menghubungkan Islamabad dengan kota Kashgar di propinsi Xinjiang milik Republik Rakyat China. Medannya sangat berat. Pakistan menyebut jalan raya ini sebagai Keajaiban Dunia Kedelapan. Saya berhasil mengalahkan rasa malas, memaksa diri beranjak meninggalkan Karimabad menuju kota Sost, kota terakhir Pakistan sebelum perbatasan China. Saya dengar karena banyaknya orang China, di kota Sost kita bisa membeli makanan China yang asli citarasanya. Dua tahun lalu, saya sudah pernah sampai di sini. Para pekerja China sedang sibuk membangun dry port – pelabuhan darat, yang akan membangkitkan denyut nadi perekonomian di barisan pegunungan Karakoram. Waktu itu mereka sangat gembira, karena kiriman daging babi dari China baru datang. Bagi para pekerja itu, makanan Pakistan terlalu hambar dan tak sesuai lidah mereka. Di seluruh negeri, daging babi tak tersedia sama sekali dan harus diimpor untuk konsumsi sendiri. Selain itu, para pekerja juga tidak bisa hidup [...]

February 5, 2015 // 15 Comments

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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