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Afghan road construction in the Wakhan valley

One thing you’ll notice if you ever travel on the road that follows the Wakhan Corridor (or Wakhan valley) is that at times it seems like the Afghan side is a century behind the Tajik side. Four wheel drive vehicles on one side and people on donkeys on the other…

That said there is a lot of development going on in Afghanistan despite the continuing troubles in southern Afghanistan. And, even in the remote areas of the Wakhan, you can see things changing. At various times there is a road running parallel to you on the other side of the river as you travel down the Wakhan valley on the Tajikistan side. The road on the Tajik side is pretty rough at times, but it is a lot wider and at least it is there.

On the Afghan side it seems to totally disappear at points, but a new road is under construction as you can see from the photos below.

You’ve got to hand it to these people building roads in these remote locations (probably on little pay), especially when you consider the plunging drop down to the fast moving river in the valley below. It is sometimes hard to get the scale of the place in photographs – I recommend you drive to Wakhan valley to see it for yourself!

In the shot above, workmen are levering a big boulder so they can send it crashing down the cliff into the river below. In the next shot, zoomed out to give a sense of how tiny the workers are in comparison to the mountain side, you’ll see the boulder fall. Then a closer view of the falling boulder.

Some way further around the mountain side more workers were working on what looked like a very dangerous and extremely narrow ledge. They were either drilling to break up rocks, or more likely drilling holes for dynamite in order to blast a large area of rock away to make way for the road.

The first shot is to show scale – the men are so tiny against the mountain side you can hardly see them, whilst the second shot zooms in to show one of the men waving.

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