Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

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Peace but extreme poverty in isolated region of Afghanistan

AAN < 1 min

AP, 7 September 2016

A reportage from Wakhan in Afghanistan’s extreme northeast – an area characterised by deep poverty and now increasingly isolated:

Just 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Ishkashim, the town at the entrance to the valley, the Taliban and other criminal groups control the world’s oldest lapis lazuli mines, in Warduj district. (…) The presence of the Taliban so nearby has further isolated the valley by making the road between Ishkashim and the rest of the country impassable. It has also instilled a fear that insurgents may target villagers simply because they are followers of the Ismaili branch of Shiite Islam, widely considered a cult by other Muslims. (… Also,) the Tajik government closed the border bazaars, where traders from both countries could meet for business, more than 10 months ago amid security concerns.