A young Kyrgyz nomad named Chinor walks out of camp at dusk in the Afghan Pamir mountains, looking for a stray yak. This is part of a 12 year photo project, published in National Geographic. When I visited in winter 2008, this area had not been visited by a photographer since 1972. To reach this place takes 3 weeks round trip, most of it on foot over a frozen river. High above 4250 m (14000 ft), a remnant group of approximately 1400 Kyrgyz nomad dwell in one of the remotest and inhospitable environments on earth. With nine months of winter the beauty of the Afghan Pamir belies its ability to support life. For thousands of years, the Kyrgyz lived a nomadic life, wandering from Siberia to eventually settle (+- 150 years ago) in summers in this part of Afghanistan. The Bolchevik Revolution in Russia followed by the Cultural Revolution in China closed the borders around them. Cut off from their brethren on the other side of the borders, they had to adjust to the brutal winters.
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