Afghanistan–China border

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China (orange) and Afghanistan (green)

The border between China and Afghanistan is a 76 kilometres (47 mi) long boundary, beginning at the tripoint of both countries with Pakistan Gilgit-Baltistan and ending at the tripoint with Tajikistan. This short border is in the far northeast of Afghanistan, distant from much of the country or urban areas, at the end of the Wakhan Corridor. The Chinese side of the border is located in the Chalachigu Valley. Both sides of the border are nature reserves: Wakhan Corridor Nature Refuge on the Afghan side and Taxkorgan Nature Reserve on the Chinese side. The border is crossed by Wakhjir Pass.

The border marks the greatest terrestrial time zone difference on Earth, with a 3.5 hour difference between Afghanistan's UTC+4:30 and China's UTC+08:00.


The border area was a thoroughfare on the Silk Road. It is believed that the famous Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang traveled this pass on his return trip back to China around 649 AD.[1]

The border was established between China and Afghanistan in an agreement between the British and the Russians in 1895 as part of the Great Game, although the Chinese and Afghans did not finally agree on the border until 1963.[2][3] China and Afghanistan demarcated their border in 1963.[2] Afghanistan was at the time the Kingdom of Afghanistan.

It is believed that in more recent times, the main pass, Wakhjir Pass, is sometimes used as a low intensity drug smuggling route, and is used to transport opium made in Afghanistan, to China.[4] Afghanistan has asked China on several occasions to open the border in the Wakhan Corridor for economic reasons or as an alternative supply route for fighting the Taliban insurgency. However, China has resisted, largely due to unrest in its far western province of Xinjiang, which borders the corridor.[5][6] In December 2009, it was reported that the United States had asked China to open the corridor.[7]

Border crossings[edit]

Historically, the main crossing between the two sides was Wakhjir Pass. Wakhjir Pass has been in use for at least a millennium since the Silk Road. In addition to Wakhjir Pass, there is also Tegermansu Pass which is located on the far eastern end from Little Pamir.

The passes are closed as Chalachigu Valley, the valley on the Chinese side, is closed to visitors; however, local residents and herders from the area are permitted to access.[8]


  1. ^ Stein, M. Aurel (1903-06-30). "Exploration in Chinese Turkestan". United States Congressional Serial Set. No. 748. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. p. 752. Retrieved 2017-02-03.
  2. ^ a b (in Chinese) Wikisource link to 中华人民共和国和阿富汗王国边界条约 [China-Afghanistan Border Agreement]. Wikisource. 1963-11-22. 
  3. ^ Office of the Geographer (1969-05-01). "International Boundary Study - Afghanistan – China Boundary" (PDF). Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-01-03. Retrieved 2017-02-03. The Afghanistan–China boundary agreement, signed on November 22, 1963, was the fifth of these boundaries treaties initiated by the Chinese communists.
  4. ^ "Afghanistan border crossings". Caravanistan. Retrieved 2017-02-03. It is mostly used as a low-intensity drug-smuggling corridor to bring opium to China during the summer.
  5. ^ Afghanistan tells China to open Wakhan corridor route. The Hindu. June 11, 2009 Archived January 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ China mulls Afghan border request. BBC News Online. June 12, 2009
  7. ^ South Asia Analysis Group: Paper No. 3579, 31 December 2009 Archived June 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ 环球时报 (2009-05-07). "《环球时报》记者组在瓦罕走廊感受中国边防". (in Chinese). Global Times. Retrieved 2017-02-04. 由于瓦罕走廊没有开放旅游,普通游客走到这里便无法继续前行。...据他介绍,该派出所海拔3900米,辖区内户籍75户,约300人,到七八月夏季牧场开放时,山下牧民会到高海拔地区放牧,走廊人口将达到1800人左右。