Afghan Wakhan corridor: no Taliban violences but fragile survival and worries for the future

Cover image CC Tom Hartley at Wikipedia

On December 13, 2021, we had a conversation with an Afghan citizen living in the middle of the Wakhan corridor. He says the situation under Taliban order is calm and safe. But he also describes the difficulties encountered due to degraded livelihood conditions. He shares his anxiety about the fact the current context does not offer sustainable perspectives for the future.

Although we personally know this gentleman and we have no reasons to question his testimony, we want to underline that we did not have the possibility to double check his statements, knowing that the perception of the reality may differ from one person to another one, especially in an isolated and segmented region facing winter with scarce transmissions. We may also have misunderstood what was orally told to us. Newertheless, the text of this article was reviewed by our interlocutor. We share the news we received for those who feel concerned with the fate of the remote Afghan Wakhan corridor.


A non-conflicting situation

Taliban in the Wakhan corridor are Tajik Taliban from Warduj district (Badakhshan province). They are based in Khundud (also spelled Khandud, medium Wakhan). They enter unfrequently into Wakhan villages. The communication is possible between local population and Taliban. There were already some contacts in the past, before the fall, between Warduj, under Taliban regime, and Wakhan corridor, under the Republic regime. Moreover, there were no military actions in and from Wakhan against Taliban. A certain level of trust exists on both sides.



Difficult life and concerns for the future

Resulting from what is presented above, people are safe. But the price of basic goods is very high, while revenues dropped. Afghani currency versus dollar is low. All borders of Wakhan are closed with Tajikistan, China and Pakistan, as a consequence of political decisions or as a consequence of weather conditions. Even Irshad Pass (4,799 m) is inaccessible due to the snow level. People worry about the future. The current situation is quiet but it is not sustainable on a long-term point of view for issues such as economic situation, education, etc. Moreover, there are concerns about the fact the peaceful context could become less stable.

Ishkashim border between Tajik Badakhshan & Wakhan Corridor. The baazar on the no man’s land is vital for trade between the two communities. It is closed.

Irshad Pass (4,799 m) between UpperWakhan/Pamir & Chipurson valley (Pakistan) is closed.

Environment concern

If Taliban decide to kill the protected wildlife, nobody could stop them. But, nowadays, Taliban chief is opposed to illegal hunting. Taliban oppose, also, to wood or bush collection in the mountain to contain erosion. However, with animal dung, it is the only fuel available. There are no electricity and no gas in Wakhan.

Marcopolo sheep endangered species from Afghanistan
Marcopolo sheep endangered species from Afghanistan
Snow leopard endangered species from Afghanistan
Snow leopard endangered species from Afghanistan

Border frictions with Pakistan, local consequences

In Broghil, Pakistan army built three border pillars in concrete. Local Wakhi workers were hired for this construction. The pillars are erected 300 meters inside Afghan Wakhan. Taliban want to punish Wakhi workers involved in this job.

Broghil Pass (3,882 m) is one of the two passes (with Irshad Pass) between Afghan Wakhan & Pakistan.

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Published by Afghan Contributors

Afghan contributors and authors whose identity is protected, on Pamir Institute wbsite, for safety purposes.

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