Two towns named Ishkashim stand opposite each other on the Pyanj River, which marks the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Against a stark backdrop of daunting peaks and dusty plains, life here, as documented in this photo essay by Diana Markosian, is marked by constant uncertainty.
Decades of war have deprived the approximately 12,000 residents on the Afghan side of the border of even the most rudimentary comforts. Those in Tajikistan don’t fare much better. Electricity is a luxury and regular access to basic health care a dream.
Farmers struggle to coax a harvest of wheat and barley out of the rocky soil in the river valley. The tenuous nature of agriculture enables the drug trade to thrive in the area, with opium products harvested and refined elsewhere in Afghanistan making their way northwards to Tajikistan, Russia and beyond.
For centuries, there was no political boundary separating the people of Ishkashim, and the area is unified by its own Persian dialect called Ishkashimi. The onset of the Great Game between the Russian and British empires in the late 19th century changed that. But despite being politically distinct entities, the two Ishkashims still share close cultural bonds that help people on both sides of the river endure.
Diana Markosian is a documentary photographer currently working in Myanmar. Her work is represented by Reportage by Getty Images.
Afghanistan to build first Women’s Police Town
KABUL: To encourage more women to join the police force in this deeply conservative and male-dominated society, Afghanistan has launched a housing project for female officers.
Women’s Police Town was inaugurated on Monday in Kabul and is funded by international donors, with Canada providing $26 million for its first phase.
It includes construction of 10 apartment buildings, each with 30 units and able to house 300 policewomen and their families in Kabul, the US-led coalition and Afghan officials said.
“This is the first such project for female police in the history of Afghanistan,” Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danesh told Arab News on Tuesday.
“It will be expanded to other parts of the country in later stages. The purpose is to encourage women to join the police ranks.” The project is due to be completed by 2020.
The proposed complex will be constructed in four phases, and will include an elementary school, child day-care facility, medical clinic, fitness center and community center, officials said. The government will manage and operate the school and day-care facility, they added.
Wounded Taliban undergo for treatment inTajikistan,claims Afghan MP
KABUL:Afghan MP claims that wounded Taliban militants are undergoing medical treatment in hospitals in Tajikistan.
According to VOA, member of Loya Jirga from Kunduz province, Eng. Kamal Sapai, said on Wednesday that Taliban militants who have been wounded in clashes with government forces in Kunduz province are undergoing medical treatment in hospitals in Tajikistan.
Meanwhile, the Tajik authorities deny this statement as absolutely ‘unfounded’.
“Information spread by Afghan parliamentarian through the Ashna TV is an egregious lie,” Muhammad Ulughkhojayev, a spokesman for the main Border Guard Directorate at the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) of Tajikistan, told media in an interview .
“The Taliban Movement is designated as a terrorist organization and any contacts with it are banned by Tajikistan’s legislation,” said Ulughkhojayev. “Official Dushanbe has never had any contacts with Taliban and that’s the end of it.”
Senior Cleric Says Iran ‘Fully Determined’ To Boost Missile Power
Tehran interim Friday Prayer Leader Ayatolllah Seyyed Ahmad Khatami said the Islamic Republic of Iran is fully determined to upgrade its missile power aimed at “confronting whatever threat posed by Israel”, IRNA reports.
Addressing the worshipers at Tehran University, Ayatollah Khatami said “in a world where wolves rule and there is no logic in their behavior, the Islamic Republic should be armed and powerful”.
The senior cleric said Iran’s military missile might is one of the main components of the country’s policy of deterrence.
“We have missiles, we would continue building more missiles and increase their ranges”, he added.
The senior cleric further said that the most important principle of Iran’s military power is defense through deterrence.
Ayatollah Khatami said Iran would never make atomic bombs, adding that based on a Fatwa issued by Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Iran remains to believe that it should not develop and possess nuclear weapons.
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