Pamir Highway Day 2: Rushan

Football game with mountains

We departed Kalai Khum in the morning and followed the road along the Pamir River again. Day Two would see us travelling 175km in about 4-5 hours. Across the river, we saw many more villages on the Afghan side.

Afghan villages along the Pamir River
Afghan villages along the Pamir River

Another interesting sight were the many Tajik soldiers we passed patrolling the road. Because the Pamir River is not very wide, there were many sections where it would probably would have been pretty easy to smuggle goods or people across if you tried hard enough. There are only a few official border crossings along the route so the soldiers try to maintain a presence in between these areas to deter smugglers and illegal crossings.

Tajik soldiers walking along the Pamir Highway
Tajik soldiers walking along the Pamir Highway

Our stop for the second night was the village of Rushan. This was our driver, Orzu’s, home town so he dropped us off at our guesthouse and was able to visit with his family in the evening. During the tourist season, he takes groups through the Pamir region nonstop so having one night at home during each tour was a highlight for him. It was very cool to see where he was from and hear his local stories. That night we came across a football/soccer game between two villages in the area. Apparently, it was a pretty big deal and the local kids were hooting and hollering for their teams. Once the winner was declared, the spectators flooded the field. It was really fun to be a part of it all!

Football game with mountains
Rival villages play in their annual football/soccer game

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