Little Pamir

Coordinates: 37°16′N 74°17′E / 37.267°N 74.283°E / 37.267; 74.283
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Little Pamir
View across Lake Chakmaktin towards Ak-Tash, Little Pamir
Little Pamir is located in Afghanistan
Little Pamir
Little Pamir
Coordinates37°16′N 74°17′E / 37.267°N 74.283°E / 37.267; 74.283

The Little Pamir (Wakhi: Wuch Pamir; Kyrgyz: Kichik Pamir; Persian: پامیر خرد, romanizedPāmīr-e Khord)[1][2] is a broad U-shaped grassy valley or pamir in the eastern part of the Wakhan in north-eastern Afghanistan. The valley is 100 km long and 10 km wide,[3] and is bounded to the north by the Nicholas Range, a subrange of the Pamir Mountains.

Chaqmaqtin Lake (9 km by 2 km) lies towards the western end of the valley while the Tegerman Su valley lies at its easternmost end. The Aksu or Murghab River flows east from the lake through the Little Pamir to enter Tajikistan at the eastern end of the valley. The Bozai Darya (also known as the Little Pamir River) rises a short distance west of the lake,[4] and flows 15 km west to join the Wakhjir River and form the Wakhan River near the settlement of Bozai Gumbaz.

The Little Pamir is used by semi-nomadic Kyrgyz herders for summer pasture. In the past the valley was part of the Principality of Wakhan.[5] In 1978 almost all the inhabitants fled to Pakistan in the aftermath of the Saur Revolution. Many of the Kyrgyz subsequently migrated to Turkey, but in October 1979, following the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, a group of about 200 Kyrgyz returned to the Little Pamir.[6] In 2003 there were 140 yurt households.[1]

The valley supports populations of Marco Polo sheep, ibex, and other wild animals.[7] The naturalist George Schaller has advocated the creation of an international peace park to protect the wildlife in the area.[8]

The Little Pamir is accessed by trails from the roadhead at Sarhad-e Broghil, about 5 days' walk away.[2] A rough road also leads to the Little Pamir from Murghab in Tajikistan, and was the route by which the Soviets occupied the eastern part of Wakhan. The border is now closed. In 2000 the road was used to deliver humanitarian aid to the Kyrgyz of the Little Pamir,[9] and in 2003 a trade fair was held at the border for a few hours.[1]

During the late-2000s, due to lawlessness, the Kyrgyz in Afghanistan reported robbery and theft in Little Pamir by bandits from Tajikistan.[10]

In the late-2010s, a joint Chinese-Tajik-Afghan border patrol base was set up across the border on the Tajikistan side that remained secretive for a few years.[11][12] Their joint patrol in Little Pamir using Chinese vehicles were spotted as early as 2016.[13][14]


  1. ^ a b c Felmy, Sabine; Kreutzmann, Hermann (2004). "Wakhan Woluswali in Badakhshan" (PDF). Erdkunde. 58: 97–117. doi:10.3112/erdkunde.2004.02.01.
  2. ^ a b Lonely Planet (2007):' Afghanistan p.170
  3. ^ Aga Khan Development Network (2010): Wakhan and the Afghan Pamir Archived 2011-01-23 at the Wayback Machine p.3
  4. ^ Some accounts state that the Bozai Darya also rises from Chaqmaqtin Lake. See Afghanistan Information Management Service: River basins and Watersheds of Afghanistan" (2004) Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine, p.5. The International Boundary Study of the Afghanistan-USSR Boundary (1983) Archived 2014-08-17 at the Wayback Machine by the US Bureau of Intelligence and Research, p.10, calls the lake "a deeper and possibly marshy section within the Aq Su-Little Pamir River drainage divide".
  5. ^ Iloliev, Abdulmamad (2021). "THE MIRDOM OF WAKHĀN IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY: DOWNFALL AND PARTITION" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-07-05. Retrieved 2021-09-27.
  6. ^ "Hermann Kreutzmann (2003) Ethnic minorities and marginality in the Pamirian Knot" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2010-07-25.
  7. ^ Little Pamir
  8. ^ National Geographic (2007). "Lifetime Achievement: Biologist George Schaller". National Geographic. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  9. ^ Kreutzmann, H. (2000) Hard Times on the Roof of the World
  10. ^ Tofel, Bartek (2010). "Tegerman Su Valley and Eastern Sector Aq Su Valley (Little Pamir), Exploration". American Alpine Journal. pp. 253–255. Retrieved 12 March 2022. It took nine days to reach the easternmost part of the Wakhan Corridor and Afghanistan—the Tegerman Su Valley. ... Tegerman Su is a sensitive area: Kirghiz report the possibility of robbery by neighboring Tajiks. ... the Kirghiz did tell me about Tajik bandits stealing their animals at night.
  11. ^ Standish, Reid (2021-10-20). "China In Eurasia Briefing: An Unofficial Military Base And Beijing's War On Terror". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 12 March 2022. The base relied on cooperation between Chinese, Tajik, and Afghan troops, but since the Taliban's return to power, the Afghan contingent has not been replaced and the facilities now only consist of Chinese and Tajik personnel.
  12. ^ Shih, Gerry (2019-02-18). "In Central Asia's forbidding highlands, a quiet newcomer: Chinese troops". Washington Post. Retrieved 12 March 2022. For at least three years, Chinese troops have quietly monitored this choke point in Tajikistan just beyond China's western frontier, according to interviews, analysis of satellite images and photographs, and firsthand observations by a Washington Post journalist.
  13. ^ Gibson, Giles (2016-10-27). "Chinese security forces caught patrolling deep inside eastern Afghanistan". WION. Retrieved 12 March 2022. Chinese-manufactured military vehicles can be seen patrolling in the country's far eastern Little Pamir region.
  14. ^ Panda, Ankit (2017-02-27). "Are Chinese Forces Conducting Patrols in Afghanistan?". The Diplomat. Retrieved 12 March 2022. To date, China has strongly denied reports that its military is conducting patrols within Afghanistan, but has conceded that "joint counter-terrorism operations" with Afghan authorities are underway. Ren Guoqiang, a spokesman for the People's Liberation Army, said that "the law enforcement authorities of the two sides have conducted joint law enforcement operations in border areas to fight against terrorism."