Feyzabad is the largest city and the provincial capital of Badakshan. The population of Feyzabad is approx 50,000 and is located about 4000 ft above sea level. Badakshan is one of the largest and least populated of Afghanistans provinces. It is the province which the English and Russians made with the finger which stretches out to touch China. The German led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) base is near Feyzabad at the site of an old Russian air strip along the Kokcha river.
Feyzabad is along the path of the old Silk Road. It is a place of interesting landscapes. The glacial river is the cleanest river I have seen in this country. The rolling hills nearby are obviously farmed and now bare except for the scavenging herds of goats. Even the chaff has been carted off the slopes to make mud bricks. The herds of goats and sheep can be seen leaving early in the morning to spend the day grazing high on the mountain. Every evening they come back down to the safety of the valley. The roads here are much improved in the past few years. There are many building projects and bridges being constructed. We had a good view of the local Buzkashi field while we were travelling to the clinic site. There are at least 5 tiers of hills and mountains in the distance. The highest ones to the east are at least 12,000 feet high and have snow on them.
The people are different than those found in either Kabul or Mazar e Sharif. While there are Tajiks and some Uzbek features to most of the people, there are also a good number of people who resemble the Aryans with caucasian features. The people appear to be poorer, but more productive and peaceful than other areas of Afghanistan.
I have had plenty of opportunity to study the surrounding hills and mountains. Largely because we have been rained in. It has been raining for the past 30 hours. When we got here all was the usual dust and the weather was cool and refreshing. Now there are huge mud puddles that can get a SUV stuck. Perhaps the planes will be able to fly tomorrow.