Also known as the Wakhan Corridor or the Wakhan Panhandle.
Rugged and desolate region in North-eastern Afghanistan, hemmed in between Tajikistan, China and Pakistan. Located between the Hindu Kush and the Pamir, the Wakhan is very mountainous, with more than 80% of the region being located more than 3000 meters above sea level. The landscape is marked by glaciers and tall mountains, cut by deep, narrow valleys.
The first geographical records of the Wakhan were made by Marco Polo, who passed through the region around 1273. In fact, an important element in the local economy still bears his name: the Marco Polo sheep.
In 1891, the Wakhan became a piece in a larger game, a struggle for regional dominance between Russia and Britain. Russia annexed the Wakhan, thereby expanding its territory to share a border with the British Empire. To avoid the possible hazards of a shared border, the Wakhan was bestowed upon the Afghan Emir, but remained, to all intents and purposes, no man's land - a buffer zone between the two great powers.
It was not until 1964 that accurate maps of the Wakhan were completed, and borders with neighbouring countries delineated.