Ishkashim District Badakshan Province Badakhshan
|Name||Ishkashim District Badakshan Province Badakhshan|
|Date of birth|
|Function/Grade||District Chief District Police Chief|
|History and Biodata||
Eshkashim District Ashkasham District Chief:
Nowadays (20130719), with its 300-odd shops, Ishkashim is the main commercial hub for the whole Pamir area, having found anew its traditional place on the Silk Road – the imperfect but real one out of the many imaginary Silk Roads presented at international conferences. It is the place where many local Ismailis and Afghans from all sort of backgrounds, Sunni Badakhshis and people from Panjshir, Kunduz, Jalalabad and Laghman, all live and work in pursuit of their legal businesses. They trade with the Ismaili villages, which are not always self-sufficient food-wise and are cut off from other markets and therefore crave all sorts of imported goods. They also trade with Tajikistan. There is a weekly bazaar-e mushtarak (shared bazaar) on a small island midway between the Afghan and the Tajik banks of the Amu Darya where, each Saturday, they go to exchange old Indian/Pakistani clothes for Russian and Chinese wares (and, yes, to wink at the Tajik girls).
So Ishkashim is not half as remote and ‘unimportant’ as other places in rural Afghanistan are for provincial and national authorities. In fact, Ishkashim is one of Afghanistan’s foremost drug trafficking hubs. Its long border with Tajikistan provides all sort of smugglers – kachakbaran – with opportunities to ply their business. The risky river-crossing for those without political connections is usually made by local residents who owe money or have become addicted to opiates. The more comfortable official border with its paved road, nay, the very bazaar-e mushtarak on the day of the fare, as well as on board the police vehicles of both countries’ officers seems to be the preference for smugglers with political cover. Here lies the curse of Ishkashim’s immutable situation when it comes to the distribution of power.
Powerbrokers from all over Badakhshan vie for the control of positions of authority in Ishkashim and the profitable smuggling opportunities that arise once they have planted their own men or allies there.