the Kygyz of the Wakhan

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An old Kyrgyz man in the Wakhan Corridor at the Afghanistan border.

Wakhan Corridor (alternatively Vakhan Corridor, or Wakhan) is the narrow strip of territory in northeastern Afghanistan that extends to Chinaand separates Tajikistan from Pakistan. The corridor, wedged between the Pamirs to the north and the Hindu Kush to the south, is about 350 km (220 mi) long and 13–65 kilometres (8.1–40.4 mi) wide.[1]

Inside the Wakhan Corridor is a high mountain valley from which the Panj and Pamir Rivers emerge and form the Amu Darya. A trade route through the valley has been used by travelers going to and from EastSouth and Central Asia since antiquity. Wakhan Corridor can also refer to the valley and the trade route. The closure of Afghan-Chinese border crossing at the Wakhjir Pass at the east end of the Wakhan Corridor, however, has turned the valley into a cul de sac inhabited by nomads.

The corridor was a political creation of the Great Game. On the corridor’s north side, agreements between Britain and Russia in 1873 and between Britain and Afghanistan in 1893 effectively split the historic region of Wakhan by making the Panj and Pamir Rivers the border between Afghanistan and the Russian Empire.[1] On its south side, the Durand Line agreement of 1893 marked the boundary between British India and Afghanistan. This left a narrow strip of land as a buffer between the two empires, which became known as the Wakhan Corridor in the 20th century.

As of 2010, the Wakhan Corridor had 12,000 inhabitants.[2] The northern part of the Wakhan is also referred to as the Afghan Pamir.[3]

 

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