A Passage to Nuristan: Exploring the Mysterious Afghan by Nicholas Barrington

By Nicholas Barrington

This is often the tale of 3 younger westerners--a Briton, an American and a German--who in 1960 got down to penetrate a land that few westerners had set eyes on. not able to depend on maps and with little info on what could confront them, they have been guided step by means of precarious step into the unknown international formerly immortalized by way of Kipling's the fellow Who will be King . this is often the modern record--now released for the 1st time--of a rare trip.

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Extra info for A Passage to Nuristan: Exploring the Mysterious Afghan Hinterland

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Perhaps it was the excitement. Perhaps it was the brightness of the moonlight. , by which time the sun was up over the mountains and it was hot. Eventually, with much fussing and farewells, we got off. It turned out that the Hakem, who had told us in Chighe Serai that he would go with us everywhere we went, had no intention of leaving even his own little village. He sent with us instead his ‘Kotowal Sahib’, the head clerk of his police, one of the senior officials of his little organisation. He also sent two soldiers, one huge and one tiny.

It made an 37 38 A PA S S A G E T O N U R I S TA N ideal shower, and there was a smooth piece of wood especially to stand on. Gradually the three of us established our fields of operation. JT was treasurer and doctor, Reinhard was camping expert, and I, as the only Persian speaker, was translator and map-reader. Thus, when the young malek asked us to come and look at his sick brother, it was JT and I who went with him. On the way up to the hut, he pointed out a place where a rock had fallen from the mountain some years before and killed 12 people.

I went on with the Nuristani porter, whose name was ‘Kah’ (emphatic)! Reinhard was ahead and we eventually caught up with him; JT was behind with the main body. The Nuristani was tough and fast and, eventually, although he was carrying a heavy knapsack, could not stand our slow pace and went ahead. A lot of the way he ran. He taught us that ‘agus maestus’ was the Nuristani (Wamai) for ‘manda nabashi’, the Persian greeting to someone passed on the road, meaning ‘may you not be tired’! If he had not been with us at the beginning we might never have attempted to get across one very nasty part, where the river had run right across the path up against a vertical rock.

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