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The Bamian Buddhas, Ali’s Dragon & Kohr-I-Baba Pass

On an Autumn morning of 1968 in Afghanistan two friends and I set out from Kabul in a Land Rover to spend a few days visiting the statues of Buddha at the valley of Bamian in the Hindu Kush Mountains.

Bamian Buddha destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.

Destroyed Bamian Buddha

Old Bamian Buddha Statue before destruction.

Old Bamian Buddha

The road out of Kabul is the same road leading over the Salang Pass and on to the town of Tashkarghan where it forks left to Mazar i Sharif and Uzbekistan, right to the towns of Faizabad, Kunduz, and up into Tajikistan and China. Traveling north from Kabul and some kilometres before the Salang Pass there is a dirt track leading off west from the village of Pul-i-Matak, it leads to Bamian Valley, up to the Band-i-Mir lakes and Maimana in the region of the Hazarat. This dirt track is strictly for animal caravans and four-wheel drive vehicles; it is the only route stretching across the centre of Afghanistan and only open from April to October. The drive from Pul-i-Matak to Bamian is some 150 kilometres through gorges and valleys and takes several hours to negotiate. Continue reading ‘The Bamian Buddhas, Ali’s Dragon & Kohr-I-Baba Pass’

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