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Wakhan Corridor – Afghanistan

Wakhan Corridor is commonly used as a synonym for Wakhan, the area of far north-eastern Afghanistan which forms a land link or “corridor” between Afghanistan and China. The Corridor is a long and slender panhandle or salient, roughly 140 miles (220 km) long and between 10 and 40 miles (16 and 64 km) wide. It separates Tajikistan in the north from Pakistan in the south. 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 area of Wakhan by making the Panj and Pamir Rivers the border between Afghanistan and the Russian Empire. 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. The corridor has 12,000 inhabitants. The term Wakhan Corridor is also used in a narrower sense to refer to the route along the Panj River and the Wakhan River to China, and the northern part of the Wakhan is then referred to as the Afghan Pamir.

Although the terrain is extremely difficult, the Corridor was historically used as a trading route between Badakhshan and Yarkand. It appears that Marco Polo came this way. The Jesuit priest Benedict Goëz crossed from the Wakhan to China between 1602 and 1606. In May 1906 Sir Aurel Stein explored the Wakhan, and reported that at that time 100 pony loads of goods crossed annually to China.

Early travellers used one of three routes:

  • A northern route led up the valley of the Pamir River to Zorkul lake, then east through the mountains to the valley of the Murghab River, then across the Sarikol Range to China.
  • A southern route led up the valley of the Wakhan River to the Wakhjir Pass to China. This pass is closed for at least five months a year and is only open irregularly for the remainder.
  • A central route branched off the southern route through the Little Pamir to the Murghab River valley.

As a through route the Corridor has been closed to regular traffic for over 100 years. There is no modern road through the Corridor. There is a rough road from Ishkashim to Sarhad-e Broghil built in the 1960s, but only paths beyond. It is some 100 km from the road end to the Chinese border at Wakhjir Pass, and further to the far end of the Little Pamir.

As Fahad Hussain has once said about Wakhan:

“Once here roamed the kings & angels from the soul

Now left with the twigs played by the horse

Red crystals changed the colors of the white puff

Where the pass remained empty with winds gone bye”

Turkistan – An Undescribed Nation

Largely viewed as a nation whose history dates back to the third millennium BC once a large region governed by Turks which remained hub of silk trade is now shared & had been divided into various nations forcing their influence on an un descriptive nation of Turkestan as most have it into a land of Turks or those who have Turkic descend.

Turkestan or Turkestan , historic region of central Asia. Western, or Russian, Turkestan extended from the Caspian Sea in the west to the Chinese frontier in the east and from the Aral-Irtysh watershed in the north to the borders of Iran and Afghanistan in the south. Eastern, or Chinese, Turkestan comprised the western provinces of China, now the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region . Southern, or Afghan, Turkestan referred to a small area of N Afghanistan. Politically, what was formerly called Russian Turkestan and Soviet Central Asia includes the nations of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan and the southern portion of Kazakhstan. Much of the western part of this region is composed of two deserts, the Kara Kum and the Kyzyl Kum . The eastern part, rough and hilly, rises to include the mountains of part of the Pamir highland and of the Tian Shan system. Athwart the eastern section extends the Fergana Valley , one of Asia’s most fertile regions.

The Persian holdings were swept away by the Arab invasion of the 8th cent.; first the Umayyad and then the Abbasid caliphate held all of Turkestan. Zoroastrianism was suppressed, and Islam, which today remains the chief religion of Turkestan, was imposed.

In the late 17th and early 18th cent., the vigorous young Ch’ing dynasty of China controlled E Turkestan, but it gradually lost more and more territory to Russia, whose troops invaded the khanate of Kokand in 1865 and took Tashkent.

Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Republic (1918) and the Bukhara and Khorezm soviet republics (1920) were set up in the region. However, in 1924 the southern part of Russian Turkestan was divided along geographical and ethnic lines into new divisions—the Uzbek SSR (now Uzbekistan), the Turkmen SSR (now Turkmenistan), the Tadzhik SSR (a union republic as of 1929, now Tajikistan), the Kirghiz Autonomous Oblast (made an autonomous republic in 1926 and a union republic in 1936, now Kyrgyzstan), and the Kara-Kalpak Autonomous Oblast (made an autonomous republic in 1932, now the Karakalpak Republic , Uzbekistan); the northern part of Turkestan was included in the Kazakh SSR (now Kazakhstan). During Soviet rule, the term Russian Turkestan was officially replaced with Soviet Central Asia.

In Xinjiang – China (Formerly East Turkestan) the Uighur fight for their freedom & portrays their state as Turkestan but the question arises where is the nation & why is there a demand for it.

Since 1991 Soviets had divided & freed it into different nations thus, wiping out the full chance of never to form the complete Turk nation.

The Overview of the situation & history tell us that Every human or creature is born with his destiny & when a Nation is born it also has it own destiny but the greed of this human world has changed every thing. As Walker Stickert says:

A life without worry, a world with no greed

A day without sunshine, a walk through a field

Lightening strikes sometimes, but never repeats

A life without rain, a sea with no waves.

This kingdom of ours, 4 countries reside

A life without order, a court with no law

A life without seconds, and a face with no hands

There’d be no more struggle, to be there on time.

A mind with no conscience, a killer is born

Lips without water, my hands in the lake

Imagine your life as you did long ago

Before you knew greed and the cost of it all

Imagine me standing here all alone

Not needing your money

Just building a home.

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