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A new road to an inaccessible land
[Image: p09mg0pg.webp]

Once an isolated region barely touched by the hands of time, Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor stands on the brink of great change with the building of a new road linking it with China.

On the cusp of six borders

Bordered by China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan lies at the very heart of Asia. Home to more than 32 million people, a quarter of its population lives in large urban centres such as Mazar-e Sharif (pictured), located 320km south-east of the capital Kabul. The fourth-largest city in the country, its centrepiece is the Shrine of Hazrit Ali – a masterpiece of Islamic architecture, which, according to local legend, is the burial place of Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad. The shrine is also renowned for its flocks of white doves. Locals believe that a small speck of another colour on a bird's feathers will instantly turn pure white when in the sacred building's vicinity. (Credit: Simon Urwin)

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