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The Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor (Pashto: واخان دهلېز‎ Wāxān Dahléz, Persian: دالان واخان‎) is a narrow strip of territory in northeastern Afghanistan
Afghanistan
that extends to China
China
and separates Tajikistan
Tajikistan
from Pakistan.[1][2][3] The corridor, wedged between the Pamir Mountains
Pamir Mountains
to the north and the Karakoram
Karakoram
range to the south, is about 350 km (220 mi) long and 13–65 kilometres (8–40 mi) wide.[4] From this high mountain valley the Panj and Pamir Rivers emerge and form the Amu Darya. A trade route through the valley has been used by travellers going to and from East, South and Central Asia
Central Asia
since antiquity.[citation needed] The term "Wakhan Corridor" can also refer to this constituent valley and the historical trade route through it.[citation needed] Politically, the corridor is part of Afghanistan's Badakhshan Province. In the 19th century, the corridor acted as a buffer between the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
(Russian Turkestan) and the British Empire
British Empire
(British India). Its eastern end bordered China's Xinjiang, ruled by the Qing dynasty. As of 2010, the Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor had 12,000 inhabitants,[5] The northern part of the Wakhan
Wakhan
is also referred to as the Pamir.[6] populated by the Wakhi and Pamiri people.

Contents

1 Geography 2 History 3 See also 4 References

4.1 Citations 4.2 Sources

5 External links

Geography[edit] Further information: Wakhan, Wakhjir Pass, and Pamir Mountains

Lake Victoria, the Great Pamir, May 2nd, 1874, watercolour by Thomas Edward Gordon[7]

The Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor forms the panhandle of Afghanistan's Badakhshan Province. At its western entrance near the Afghan town of Ishkashim, the corridor is 18 km (11 mi) wide.[4] The western third of the corridor varies from 13–30 km (8–19 mi) in width and widens to 65 km (40 mi) in the central Wakhan.[4] At its eastern end, the corridor forks into two prongs that wrap around a salient of Chinese territory, forming the 92 km (57 mi) boundary between the two countries.[4] The Wakhjir Pass, which is the easternmost point on the southeastern prong, is about 300 km (190 mi) from Ishkashim.[4] The easternmost point of the northeastern prong is a nameless wilderness about 350 km (220 mi) from Ishkashim.[4] On the Chinese side of the border is the Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County
Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County
of Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Uyghur Autonomous Region. The northern border of the corridor is formed by the Pamir River
Pamir River
and Lake Zorkul
Zorkul
in the west and the high peaks of the Pamir Mountains
Pamir Mountains
in the east. To the north is Tajikistan's Gorno- Badakhshan
Badakhshan
Autonomous region. To the south, the corridor is bounded by the high mountains of the Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
and Karakoram. Along the southern flank of the corridor, there are two mountain passes which connect the corridor to its neighbours. The Broghol
Broghol
pass offers access to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan, while the Irshad Pass
Irshad Pass
connects the corridor to Gilgit Baltistan
Gilgit Baltistan
in Pakistan
Pakistan
occupied Kashmir. The Dilisang Pass, which also connects to Gilgit-Baltistan, is disused.[8] The easternmost pass, as indicated above, is the Wakhjir Pass, which connects to China
China
and is the only border connection between that country and Afghanistan. The corridor is higher in the east than in the west; (the Wakhjir Pass is 4,923 m (16,152 ft) in elevation) and descends to about 3,037 m (9,964 ft) at Ishkashim.[9] The Wakhjir River emerges from an ice cave on the Afghan side of the Wakhjir Pass
Wakhjir Pass
and flows west, joining the Bozai Darya near the village of Bozai Gumbaz to form the Wakhan
Wakhan
River. The Wakhan
Wakhan
River then joins the Pamir River near Kala-i-Panj
Kala-i-Panj
to form the Panj River, which then flows out of the Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor at Ishkashim. The Chinese consider Chalachigu Valley, the valley east of Wakhjir Pass on the Chinese side connecting Taghdumbash Pamir, to be part of Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor. The high mountain valley is about 100 km (60 mi) long.[10][11] This valley, through which the Tashkurgan River flows, is generally about 3–5 km (2–3 mi) wide and less than 1 km (0.6 mi) at its narrowest point.[10] This entire valley on the Chinese side is closed to visitors; however, local residents and herders from the area are permitted access.[12] History[edit]

The Russian-India border, c. 1865, before the creation of the Wakhan Corridor

Although the terrain is extremely rugged, the Corridor was historically used as a trading route between Badakhshan
Badakhshan
and Yarkand.[13] It appears that Marco Polo
Marco Polo
came this way.[14] The Portuguese Jesuit priest Bento de Goes
Bento de Goes
crossed from the Wakhan
Wakhan
to China
China
between 1602 and 1606. In May 1906, Sir Aurel Stein
Aurel Stein
explored the Wakhan
Wakhan
and reported that at that time, 100 pony loads of goods crossed annually to China.[15] There were further crossings in 1874 by Captain T.E. Gordon of the British Army,[16] in 1891 by Francis Younghusband,[17] and in 1894 by Lord Curzon.[18] Early travellers used one of three routes:

A northern route led up the valley of the Pamir River
Pamir River
to Zorkul
Zorkul
Lake, then east through the mountains to the valley of the Murghab River, then across the Sarikol Range
Sarikol Range
to China. A southern route led up the valley of the Wakhan
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.[19] A central route branched off the southern route through the Little Pamir to the Murghab River valley.

The corridor is in part a political creation from The Great Game between the United Kingdom and Russian Empire. In the north, an agreement between the empires in 1873 effectively split the historic region of Wakhan
Wakhan
by making the Panj and Pamir Rivers the border between Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and the Russian Empire.[4]. In the south, the Durand Line
Durand Line
agreement of 1893 marked the boundary between British India and Afghanistan. This left a narrow strip of land ruled by Afghanistan
Afghanistan
as a buffer between the two empires, which became known as the Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor in the 20th century.[20] The corridor has been closed to regular traffic for over a century[9] and there is no modern road. There is a rough road from Ishkashim to Sarhad-e Broghil[21] built in the 1960s,[22] but only rough paths beyond. These paths run some 100 km (60 mi) from the road end to the Chinese border at Wakhjir Pass, and further to the far end of the Little Pamir. Jacob Townsend has speculated on the possibility of drug smuggling from Afghanistan
Afghanistan
to China
China
via the Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor and Wakhjir Pass, but concluded that due to the difficulties of travel and border crossings, it would be minor compared to that conducted via Tajikistan's Gorno- Badakhshan
Badakhshan
Autonomous Province or through Pakistan, both having much more accessible routes into China.[23] The closure of the Afghan-Chinese border
Afghan-Chinese border
crossing at the Wakhjir Pass, on the east end of the Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor, has left the valley bereft of trade.[citation needed] The government of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
has asked the People's Republic of China on several occasions to open the border in the Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor for economic reasons or as an alternative supply route for fighting the Taliban insurgency. The Chinese have resisted, largely due to unrest in its far western province of Xinjiang, which borders the corridor.[24][25] In December 2009[update], it was reported that the United States
United States
had asked China
China
to open the corridor.[26] See also[edit]

Wakhan Little Pamir Great Pamir Wakhjir Pass Durand Line Mount Imeon

References[edit] Citations[edit]

^ Bruce Elleman; Stephen Kotkin; Clive Schofield (18 May 2015). Beijing's Power and China's Borders: Twenty Neighbors in Asia. M.E. Sharpe. pp. 13–. ISBN 978-0-7656-2766-7. The Sino-Afghan border was delimited in a secret treaty signed during November 1963. The corridor shares a border with Pakistan
Pakistan
to its south and Tajikistan to its north.  ^ Pervaiz I Cheema; Manuel Riemer (22 August 1990). Pakistan's Defence Policy 1947-58. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 46–. ISBN 978-1-349-20942-2. In addition, the Soviet Union is separated from Pakistani territory by a small strip commonly known as the Wakhan
Wakhan
corridor. Theoretically the Soviet Union does not have a common border with Pakistan
Pakistan
but in view of their close linkage with Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and the shortness of Wakhan's breadth make it an immediate neighbour for all practical purposes.  ^ Yasmeen Niaz Mohiuddin (2007). Pakistan: A Global Studies Handbook. ABC-CLIO. pp. 18–. ISBN 978-1-85109-801-9. The Chitral and Kalash valleys of the Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
Mountains are located north of the Swat Valley in the Chitral district of the North-West Frontier Province and are bordered by Afghanistan
Afghanistan
on the north, south, and west. The Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor separates Chitral from Tajikistan.  ^ a b c d e f g International Boundary Study of the Afghanistan–USSR Boundary (1983) by the US Bureau of Intelligence and Research
Bureau of Intelligence and Research
Pg. 7 ^ Wong, Edward (27 October 2010). "In Icy Tip of Afghanistan, War Seems Remote". The New York Times. Retrieved October 28, 2010.  ^ Aga Khan Development Network (2010): Wakhan
Wakhan
and the Afghan Pamir p.3 ^ "Lake Victoria, Great Pamir, May 2nd, 1874" ^ The pass was crossed by a couple in 1950 and by a couple in 2004. See J.Mock and K. O'Neil: Expedition Report ^ a b FACTBOX-Key facts about the Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor. Reuters. June 12, 2009 ^ a b "新疆边境行:记者抵达瓦罕走廊中方最西端(图)_新闻中心_新浪网" [ Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Border Tour: Reporter arrived at the Chinese westernmost point of Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor]. news.sina.com.cn (in Chinese). Global Times. 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2017-02-05.  ^ (Chinese) 小资料:瓦罕走廊 2009-05-05 ^ 环球时报 (2009-05-07). "《环球时报》记者组在瓦罕走廊感受中国边防". china.huanqiu.com (in Chinese). Global Times. Retrieved 2017-02-04. 由于瓦罕走廊没有开放旅游,普通游客走到这里便无法继续前行。...据他介绍,该派出所海拔3900米,辖区内户籍75户,约300人,到七八月夏季牧场开放时,山下牧民会到高海拔地区放牧,走廊人口将达到1800人左右。  ^ Stein, Mark Aurel (1907). Ancient Khotan. p. 32.  ^ The Travels of Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Book 1 Chapter 32 ^ Shahrani, M. Nazif (1979 and 2002) p.37 ^ Keay, J. (1983). When Men and Mountains Meet. pp. 256–7. ISBN 0-7126-0196-1.  ^ Younghusband, F. (1896, republished 2000) "The Heart of a Continent" ISBN 978-1-4212-6551-3 ^ "Geographical Journal" (July to September 1896) ^ Townsend, J. (June 2005) China
China
and Afghan Opiates: Assessing the Risk Chapter 4 ^ Jacobs, Frank (5 December 2011). "A Few Salient Points". The New York Times.  ^ J. Mock and K. O'Neil (2004): Expedition Report ^ United Nations Environment Programme (2003) Wakhan
Wakhan
Mission Report ^ " China
China
and Afghan Opiates: Assessing the Risk" (Chapter 4). June 2005 ^ Afghanistan
Afghanistan
tells China
China
to open Wakhan
Wakhan
corridor route. The Hindu. June 11, 2009 Archived January 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. ^ China
China
mulls Afghan border request. BBC News Online. June 12, 2009 ^ South Asia
South Asia
Analysis Group: Paper No. 3579, 31 December 2009 Archived June 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.

Sources[edit]

Shahrani, M. Nazif (2002). The Kirghiz and Wakhi of Afghanistan: Adaptation to Closed Frontiers and War (2nd ed.). University of Washington Press. ISBN 978-0-295-98262-5. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor.

CIA Relief Map Wakhan
Wakhan
Development Partnership, a project working to improve the lives of the people of Wakhan
Wakhan
since 2003 We Took the Highroad in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
National Geographic November 1950 - Story of the first modern crossing of the Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor by Westerners. A Short Walk in the Wakhan
Wakhan
Corridor, article by Mark Jenkins in the November 2005 issue of Outside magazine Wakhan
Wakhan
& the Afghan Pamir - In the footsteps of Marco Polo
Marco Polo
- Brochure of the region by Aga Khan Foundation

Coordinates: 37°N 73°E / 37°N 73°E / 37; 73

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 234142

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