In Europe, it is heard about foreign army translators, sport people, especially sport women, musicians, dancers, etc. being under threats or being killed by Taliban. But there is also a category whose existence is compromised. It is the one of the guides who took care of foreign visitors.
Indeed, there were foreign visitors in Afghanistan before the fall. The Wakhan Corridor is connected with Pakistan, mostly via Broghil Pass and Irshad Pass. But these ways were mainly used by Afghan and Pakistani traders or yak herders. Every year, Wakhis and ethnic Kyrgyz from Afghan Pamir also joined the Baba Ghundi festival in the Pakistani Chapursan Valley.
However, foreign tourists visited the remote but peaceful and ever free of violence Wakhan Corridor entering by a border post not very far from Khorog (Tajikistan). There, they crossed the Panj River and went to Ishkashim (Eshkashem, Afghanistan) after a few kilometers. The burdensome paper work was done in this small city with the help of some locals who talked English. Part of these locals could also be the guides of the same tourists for visiting Wakhan and even going until Little Pamir.
We received the testimony of one guide from Ishkashim.
Western tourists in Wakhan Corridor and Pamir. All photos are from the interviewed guide
“Before Taliban, Covid 19 stopped tourism industry in the whole world and we were waiting for vaccination to be able being back to work.
“When the vaccine was discovered, we hoped the tourist industry would start again.
Unfortunately, the situation in Afghanistan changed day by day. Eventually, the Afghan government collapsed and Taliban took full power.
“Now, our situation is even worse, due to economic crisis and security crisis.
“The biggest problem we have is security. Many terrorists groups are actively operating in the north of Afghanistan.
“It is very dangerous for us and for our families because we worked as guide/translators with western people.
“Moreover, we are at special risk because of our ethnicity (Afghanistan Tajiks) and because of our religion. We are Shias from the Ismailian branch. We are followers of his Highness, the Aga Khan, a French citizen. Ismailism is the only religion in Afghanistan which has a minority representing only 0.01% of the population. It is quite in danger.
“In Kabul, they call us Pamiris. It is the same for the people on the Tajik side. But for Taliban or for other terrorists, Afghanistan is Pashtun. The religion is Sunnism.
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