Living on the Roof of the World: The Last Krygyz Nomads of the Afghan Pamirs
In a far corner of northeast Afghanistan, close to the border of China and Tajikistan, lives what could be the last nomads of the Pamirs. Roaming at an altitude of over 4,000m, they eke out a living raising yaks and sheep for food, wool and as currency to exchange for other essentials such as rice, floor and oil. This terrain is as beautiful as it is harsh (winter temperatures can dip to -25⁰C and summer can be scorching hot). These are the Afghan Kyrgyz, descendants of a mixed bag of ancient tribes like the Scythians, Issedones, Dingling, Mongols and Huns.
Against all odds, these Afghan Krygyzs have managed to survive and maintain their ancestral way of life, with none of the amenities that define even the most rudimentary urban life. There are no paved roads, no schools, no hospitals, no concrete housing. Not even a single tree. But their numbers are fast diminishing. Today there are only about a thousand Kyrgyzs left in this area. In time to come, there may be none. Watch the video documentary at the end of this blog for a glimpse of what life is like for these resilient people existing on the “roof of the world.”
WATCH: Prisoners of the Afghan Pamirs (a SLICE Documentary)