There is more to Afghanistan than terrorists and bombs, much more. The country has been in the daily news for over 10 years now. Yet, this is the first time I’m seeing this other side:

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Every landscape is reminiscent of Ladakh. And it’s not by coincidence: the Hindu Kush mountains of northern Afghanistan are the western branch of the Karakoram range in Ladakh. High altitude desert plains and harsh weather are common. As are handsome men and beautiful women.

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Hold that chest-swelling over Hindu Kush for a moment. Here is its etymology:

Encyclopedia Americana comments on the Hindu Kush as follows:

The name Hindu Kush means literally ‘Kills the Hindu’, a reminder of the days when (Hindu) slaves from the Indian subcontinent died in the harsh weather typical of the Afghan mountains while being transported to the Muslim courts of Central Asia.

Not a proud moment now, is it?

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In a parallel universe, I’m making plans to hike in northern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan as we speak.

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