Qalaikhumb (Kala-i Khum) villages hit by shells/bullets (Pamir Highway)

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Christian77
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Qalaikhumb (Kala-i Khum) villages hit by shells/bullets (Pamir Highway)

Post by Christian77 »

Two villages near Qalaikhumb were shelled and hit by bullets from the Afghan side of the river yesterday. https://www.ozodi.org/a/30475846.html

This is the second time this has happened in the last 6 months. Nobody was killed, but some houses and building were damaged.

Qalaikhumb often serves as a stop-over on the drive from Khorog to Dushanbe. If you are a cyclist, assume that Tajik security forces would probably rather you not camp in this area. Stay in the town itself in a guesthouse, or cycle further out of town...
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Koen
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security status tajikistan

Post by Koen »

Hi all,

Just read news about border troubles, is this a ongoing situation or a new development by increasing activity on Afghan site.

https://www.rferl.org/a/tajiks-afghan-b ... 42093.html
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Christian77
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Re: security status tajikistan

Post by Christian77 »

This has been happening for a long time (in Shamsiddini Shohin district, AKA Shurobod, AKA Shuroobod). And in an area that doesn't concern tourists. It's not Shurobod pass itself. After coming over Shurobod pass from Kulob and down to the Panj river, you take a left up the river. If you took a right down the river and drove for a while on secondary and tertiary roads you would get to the area of concern. Government guys here are trying to stop independent traffickers (and only independent traffickers) from using that area. So once in a while they shoot at them, and occasionally the other guys shoot back. "Cross-border attacks" here are usually about business disputes and debt collection. But with enough idiots with enough guns, the violence sometimes affects totally uninvolved persons (like the road workers who got attacked). But other allegedly uninvolved people were attacked for very specific reasons, despite what the media and government report. And it's not just guys going north and causing problems, but also the reverse: https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-afgh ... KKCN1LC0K2

In Darvoz, that is a different situation. The Taliban have been slowly expanding in Badakhshan over the last decade, with regular back and forths. That's all about Afghans fighting each other, and the Tajik side needing to worry about standing right next to the fighting. That's the main concern for tourists, in that if fighting flares up, the road near Qalai Khumb will be closed, and you will end up sitting with your driver in Kulob or Rushon waiting for it to re-open.

Tourists are unaware, but there is a big growing Tajik military base in Qalai Khumb. So the government is aware and of the problem and is likely prepared for all contingencies (not that following through is their strong suit).

Anyways, it's more of the same that has been seen over the last 5 or more years. So I don't think that the government is going to freak out and close the region (GBAO) for a year (like they did for internal disputes) or anything like that. It would have to be something really big, and the Afghan side is just not interested in the other side of the border (aside from making business deliveries). As for Tajiks in Afghanistan attempting a return, they are too few to really cause long-term problems.

As usual, bad drivers are 1 million times more likely to hit you than a bullet. And my concern in Qalai Khumb is that it is the place cyclists point to as the town in Tajikistan most likely to give you a gastrointestinal illness. So... the usual worries.
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Lovetheworld
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Re: security status tajikistan

Post by Lovetheworld »

Because of the stories at the time, we took the route over Tavildara, so that you come from the north side into Qalai Kumb.
I guess this is not helping if the Qalai Kumb area is becoming restless. But all in all it was a very nice route, and more relaxed. It may be a bit harder for cyclists though, but probably safer (also because of less traffic?)
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Christian77
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Re: security status tajikistan

Post by Christian77 »

Coming from Tavildara will mean much more time on dirt roads, and I wouldn't recommend it in late spring or early summer if a person doesn't like a little rain (the road after Tavildara may be closed in heavy rain). And you're right, this does nothing to avoid the problem area a few kilometers east of Qalaikhumb. But if somebody wants to do the original Pamir Highway, that's the route. The route via Kulob is not the M41/Pamirsky Trakt/Pamir Highway.
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Kalpazan
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Re: security status tajikistan

Post by Kalpazan »

Kyrgyz and Tajiks also shoot at each other from time to time. It is in border area but away from tourists routes. Don't bother yourself thinking about this. You are more safe in Pamir than most other parts of the world. The only life threatening situations I had there were an awfully bad diarrhea and a spot marked as camping site on the map that later turned out to be mine field :)
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Lovetheworld
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Re: security status tajikistan

Post by Lovetheworld »

@Kalpazan: I am wondering how many stars you gave the mine field camping spot :D
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Kalpazan
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Re: security status tajikistan

Post by Kalpazan »

Well, I did not paid attention to the road sign at all and entered the field looking for a spot to pitch my tent. Luckily for me, few minutes later, a truck stopped on the road and driver started yelling something at me and pointing at the road sign. I could not believe my eyes when I read it. Long time after that I was shaking and cursing myself for being such a noob :) Btw, I think it is fixed already and no longer marked as camp spot.
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