Tajik-Afghan border markets
Throughout the Pamir Mountains, there is lively cross-border trade between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The Panj River in the Pamirs forms a sharp border between the Tajik and Afghan side. Bridges connect both countries all along the Panj. On these border crossings, you can often find markets, where trade and cultural sharing create a special meeting point between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
Although the Panj River defines a clear border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, culturally the divide is much less clear. Both sides of the river are part of the larger Badakhshan Region. The province on the Afghan side of the Pamirs is still called Badakhshan, while the Tajik side is officially called the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast. Also the languages spoken on both sides are similar. At the bridges crossing the border, it is common to find border markets, where people from both sides gather to exchange and sell local products.
If you happen to come across such a market, you will not regret stopping by and taking a look. These bazaars bustle with activity, filled with traders and visitors from both sides. It is not just about buying things, but also about sharing stories, customs and items unique to each region
Below you find an impression of the lively and colorful atmosphere at a cross-border market just north of Khorog (the capital of the Gorno-Badakhshan region – see map at bottom). This Afghan bazaar on the Tajik side takes place every Saturday all year round and bursts with lots of small stalls showcasing local goods, medicines and herbs.