Friday, August 26, 2011

Beautiful Badakhshan

Welcome to Faizabad, where the river is clean and the donkeys are strong!

Last Sunday I took a 3-day trip to Faizabad, the capital city of Badakhshan province, located in Afghanistan's far northeast.

It's a (relatively) very safe province, having served as the stronghold of the Northern Alliance during the Taliban years. Several residents proudly told me that Badakhshan was the only province to continuously allow girls to attend school, with no interruption from the Taliban.

This is the entrance to the PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team), where the USG is based. We're guests of the German military.

The entire town of Faizabad is built around the river, and lots of the activity is centered around it:

USAID recently completed a paved road that runs parallel to the river, and it's a huge development for the town. Of course, most people still see the road from the back of donkey instead of the inside of a car.

Even more recently, USAID installed solar-powered street lamps along the road, which seem to be really appreciated. Since I visited during Ramadan, lots of people were out at night, eating and walking under the lights.

Ice cream shop along the main drag:

Banana-flavored ice cream. I still haven't gotten sick yet...

Grandpa and granddaughter hanging out at the ice cream shop in the evening:

Typical street scene:

Following behind a jingle truck on a death-defying mountain pass above the city.

View of Faizabad from above. There were also a couple other local tourists taking pictures.

This monument on the other side of the river is apparently constructed at the site of a mass grave, victims of the Soviet invasion.

We visited the old town, which was constructed roughly 300 years ago and doesn't seem to have changed much.

The outdoor market has also been around since the 1700s:

Local mosque in the old town:

View of the river from a USAID-constructed bridge:

Back on the other side, we passed right by the town buzkashi field! Buzkashi is like polo, with a headless goat carcass replacing the ball (

Preparing for the day that buzkashi becomes an Olympic sport?

And on the helicopter ride back, flying over the mountains of Panjshir province, home of Massoud:


  1. Hello Briget Lines

    I am very happy that you have taken many pictures from Badakhshan( Faizabad) these are very nice and means that you liked Badakshan.
    MZ who met during this travel