Robertino Radovix – Wakhan paradise in danger
The Wakhan corridor is an impervious strip of land that extends into the northeastern part of Afghanistan; area among the most remote in the world, it was crossed by Alexander the Great in 327, by Marco Polo in 1271 and by Genghis Khan in the thirteenth century: branch of the ancient Silk Road, it was a crossroads of communication between East and West.
It is in this severe land that, about 2,500 years ago, settled the nomadic shepherds of Kyrgyz origin and the Wakhi, ethnic minorities with a life suspended in time.
The Kyrgyz caravanners still practice a pastoral nomadism: perpetually traveling with their herds and their mobile homes, the yurts, can be met during their crossings, in temporary camps, among the immensity of starry nights, when it is only the warm light of a small bonfire to illuminate the faces furrowed by the signs of a very hard existence.
The life of the settled Wakhi tribes is based on high-altitude agriculture combined with pastoralism. Outside the village walls, women milk and small shepherds look after the animals. The clothes washed in the river, in the short summer months can be spread on the grass under the clear sky, covering like tapestries an enchanted landscape.
The numerous children have somatic features, as well as their incredibly green or deep black eyes, which reveal their Iranian and Mongolian roots.
Unfortunately, today these populations are being put at risk by the Taliban regime. Since taking control of Afghanistan, the Taliban have launched an assault on human rights, persecuting ethnic and religious minorities. The Corridor is of particular interest to opium trafficking, as Afghanistan’s only land border with China. The project of a road that will cross this area brings with it strongly negative implications for local populations: cultural contamination, anthropization of a wilderness area, forced relocations and increase of the Taliban garrison.
The Talibans had promised an inclusive and tolerant government, respectful of the rights of the population, statements that soon proved false. Afghans who have decided to stay in the country to try to give themselves another chance are now living an endless nightmare.