Thursday, November 26, 2015 Local time: 20:26

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About Gandhara

Gandhara, an ancient region comprising parts of today's Afghanistan and Pakistan, inspires this page, which provides foreign policy audiences with reporting, analysis and commentary direct from our local correspondents in Afghanistan and Pakistan with the aim of promoting peace in the region. 


Pakistan’s Kalasha People Struggle To Preserve Way of Life

Amid natural disasters brought on by climate change and the threat from the Taliban, the Kalasha people look to shore up their villages before winter

Pakistan Arrests Father Over 'Planned Sale' Of Daughter Into Prostitution

Police in Pakistan have accused a man of arranging to sell his 12-year-old daughter into prostitution in a case that highlights the dramatic abuses inflicted on women and children in some parts of the country.


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Displaced In Pakistan Protest End Of Food Aidi
Displaced persons from Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region protest after the authorities withdraw food aid. (RFE/RL's Radio Maashal)

Video Displaced In Pakistan Protest End Of Food Aid

Displaced persons from Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region protest after the authorities withdraw food aid. (RFE/RL's Radio Maashal)

Video Afghans Deny IS Complicity Claim

The Afghan Interior Minister denies claims made by a senior legislator that state security officials have been supporting Islamic State militants, who are reportedly engaged in fighting against Taliban forces. (RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan)

Video New Home For Street Kids In Pakistan

Up to 1,000 children living on the streets of the northern Pakistani city of Peshawar will soon be offered beds and classes at a new boarding school for street kids. (RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal)

Video Aftermath Of Attack On Police Compound In Kandahar

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for an attack on a police headquarters in Kandahar Province on November 19 that left one soldier and five militants dead. (RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan)

Video Peshawar Hospital Patients Demand End To Doctors Strike

Patients from a main hospital in the Pakistani city of Peshawar took to the streets to demand the government intervene to end a doctors strike. (RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal)


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  • Alichor village sits at the foot of a mountain. But it is actually 4,000 meters above sea level, which made it the highest village in the former Soviet Union.
  • A Soviet-style billboard welcomes travellers to Alichor with a depiction of two men, one with a Kyrgyz white hat and one with the red hat of the Pamiri ethnic group.
  • View of Аlichor village. The area is so high that 7,000-meter snow-capped peaks are seen as lowlying hills.
  • A family in front of their house. The village is 80 percent Kyrgyz and 20 percent Pamiri.
  • Most houses in the village have no fences or yards, with the door leading straight onto the street.
  • Girls pose by a wall.
  • Local teacher Zamir Nazarmambetov in the school library. We can see the portrait of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon on the wall. The books are mostly in Russian and Kyrgyz. Zamir says that there have been no new deliveries from Kyrgyzstan since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
  • Zamir's mother, Meyman, in her house. She is one of the first generation of nomads who were settled here by the Soviet government.
  • The family meal is dominated by yak products -- yogurt, sour cream, and butter. All other products, exept meat, are brought in from the lowlands.
  • Zamir's wife, Gulzat, makes a fire to cook on. An electricity line was run to the village in Soviet times, but it was never connected to the grid. So electricity is affordable only to those who own generators.
  • A truck delivers Tersken, a local bush widely used for making fires.
  • Tagajbek Patandaev, a local businessman, in front of his family-run hostel. For breakfast, the hostel offers fried sausages imported from Iran and eggs brought from the Tajik capital, Dushanbe. There is even a small sauna.
  • A group of Belgian bikers at the hostel.
  • Several women in the village clubbed together and opened a yurt as a guest house. The yurt is beautifully decorated with traditional Kyrgyz carpets and other handwork made by local women.
  • Single mother Aichurok Kochorbaeva keeps her family going by making yak wool carpets for tourists.
  • The street name is written in Kyrgyz and Tajik. Usually, only the Tajik language is used on public signage. Beyond the mountains in the background lies Afghanistan.
  • A Chinese truck on the road near Alichor. They pass this way en route to Dushanbe, which brings an added benefit as drivers sometimes stop by for lunch in a local canteen.

Tourism Revives Remote Tajik Mountain Village

The extreme conditions of high-altitude desert and strong winds, combined with lack of opportunities beyond yak and sheep breeding, make life in the High Pamir Mountains of eastern Tajikistan a fight for survival. Yet in recent years, the village of Alichor has seen a turnaround in its fortunes, with a nascent tourism industry slowing the outflow of people to neighboring Kyrgyzstan. Photojournalist Janyl Jusupjan paid the village a visit.

Related Multimedia


Informed Comment

  • Afghan Taliban shows the wreckage of what they say is a U.S. plane shot down in southeastern Afghanistan on October 14.

    Divide and Rule: Pakistan's New Covert Taliban Approach

    Pakistan has often been accused of double-dealing by helping the international war on terrorism while sheltering the Afghan Taliban. But some insurgents now accuse Islamabad of manipulating their organization to preserve its influence over their ranks. More

Debating Room

Afghanistan -- Afghanistan National Army (ANA) soldiers take their position during an operation against Taliban insurgents in Ghazni, October 14, 2015

The Taliban Threat to Central Asia

Last week, Taliban militants launched a series of coordinated attacks, capturing a key district on the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan border. As the northern border of Afghanistan becomes a flashpoint for a revitalized Taliban insurgency, we examine the threat to Central Asia. More

More Articles


Press Room

October 21, 2015

‘Trapped On All Sides’

What’s driving Afghans and Pakistanis to risk the journey to Europe, and how Radio Mashaal is reporting the crisis.