HIGH PASSES YAKS AND BUZKASHI

life in the Wakhan Corridor

Written by Chris Hunt

Sandwiched by Tajikistan to the north and Pakistan to the south and lined by the high passes of the Hindu Kush, Pamir and the Karakoram mountains, a narrow finger of land runs east out of Afghanistan to meet the border with China. Some 400 kilometres east of Kabul, its inaccessibility has safeguarded a region which is believed have remained unchanged for thousands of years.

In 2014, the region was granted national park status, protecting an area 25 per cent bigger than Yellowstone in the U.S. ensuring the defence of its mountains and indigenous nomadic people. Today, The Wakhan Corridor is still a land characterised by lush valleys, snowcapped peaks and the ancient game of Buzkashi.

At the start of August, the 2018 Secret Compass team returned from a 22-day, 220km trekking expedition, forging trekking routes across the Little and Big Pamirs, crossing the 4,895m Showr Pass and meeting the communities far from the war-torn nation which for most categorises Afghanistan. Below are the team’s highlight images.

Trekking over high passes of the Pamir mountains in the Wakhan Corridor © Tom Mcshane
Farming communities within the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan, herd their cattle © Tom Mcshane
Meeting the local communities of Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor © Tom Mcshane
© Simon Morris
Crossing a river in the Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan © Tom McShane
© Tom McShane
Moody landscape of the Pamir mountains in Aghanistan's Wakhan Corridor © Simon Morris
A river bed weaves through the valley between the mountains of the Wakhan Corridor © Tom Mcshane
Wakhan river crossing © Tom Mcshane
A young boy wearing traiditional Wakhi clothing in Afghanistan's Wakhan National Park © Tom McShane
Nomadic yurt community of the Wakhan Corridor © Tom Mcshane
During a game of buzkashi, Wakhi men rear their horses © Simon Morris
© Tom McShane
Local men play games in the Wakhan Corridor © Tom McShane
© Simon Morris
© Tom McShane
Alpine lake high up in the mountains of the Wakhan Corridor © Tom Mcshane
Yak herders in the Wakhan © Tom Mcshane
A young girl showcases traditional dress in Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor © Tom Mcshane
Yaks graze in the Wakhan Corridor © Tom Mcshane
© Tom McShane
Trekking across the Wakhan Corridor © Simon Morris
horseback travel deep in the Wakhan Corridor © Simon Morris
farming communities of the Wakhan © Tom McShane
© Tom McShane
© Tom McShane
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