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Friends of Northern Kashmir, HAPPY NEW YEAR !


Pakistan is at a turn and the Northern Areas are not untouched by the troubles. FIrst limited to teh Swat Valley, bombings have apparently taken place in Besham, very well known town on the famous Karakoram highway.

Some interesting links herejoint :

This will strangely evoke the bombing sof the Bamiyan buddhas :

New links on Blankonthemap

To help us to keep in touch with news, here a new link toward Google et Yahoo news.


Discoveries on the Web ! : Collectif Liberté Afghanistan. : The Little Karim Web Site ! : Commercial website of my great friend Karim Khan.

Christian Chabert, passionate by petroglyphs !

Page voyage au CachemireChristian Chabret is joining us to present his research work on Petroglyphs in the high Valleys of Zanskar. These petroglyphs are commons from the Indus Valley to the Wakhan Corridor as well as the Tajik Pamir. Enjoy these interesting images before soon sharing with you his expedition brief.


Northern Kashmir movies :
a new page on Blankonthemap

Reactions have been very positive to the modest " fifth pass " movie shot with Matthieu Paley, some people frankly telling me how they now understood North Kashmir better. As I like to tell it, my real passion for the mountains fo Northern Pakistan started on an October Sunday, wayching a documentary titled " Return to Samarkand ". For me, visuals have been essentials to live Karakoram passion that takes a big part of my life. The Internet, which use to be motionless is now having a new revolution… : it is stuffed with lots of documentaries, some of them rare and of quality.


Afghan developement project signed by
John Mock & Kimberley O'Neil

Picture courtesy C. Faisy

RETURN TO NOSHAQ is a campaign to remove landmines from the Qazideh Valley - the only minefields
in the Wakhan District of Afghanistan’s Badakhshan Province.
The mines were laid in 2000 by the Northern Alliance to prevent the Taliban from launching an attack on Ishkashim. Taliban at that time were crossing from Pakistan into Badakhshan via other mountain passes, and the Ishkashim commandant wanted to seal any possibility of attack via the nearby Qazideh Valley.

Picture courtesy C. Faisy

There are three unmarked minefields in the valley. The approximately 1,000 villagers of Qazideh cannot take their livestock into the valley and are afraid to gather fuelwood for cooking and heating their homes from the valley. The landmines also block the route to Noshaq (7492 metres), Afghanistan’s highest mountain. Clearing the minefields would reopen the valley for the villagers and eliminate the possibility of any more mine victims. The welcoming of climbers and trekkers back to Noshaq would become a source of national pride for Afghanistan and generate much needed tourism income for residents.

Picture courtesy C. Faisy

In October 2007, HALO Trust - a nonprofit organization engaged in mineclearance in nine provinces in northern Afghanistan - completed its general and technical surveys of the valley to determine the feasibility for clearing the minefields and prepared a project budget of U.S. $99,485. The largest part of the budget is $51,800 for salaries. The project would employ 54 Afghan staff working in two teams for five months. Other budget components include: $36,277 for operating costs (food, equipment, supplies, medical, communications, insurance); $4,726 for body armour, detector parts and radios; and $6,682 for administration. (Additional budget details are available upon request.)

Picture courtesy C. Faisy

To get this project onto HALO’s 2008 work schedule, we need to raise U.S. $100,000 by March 31st. To complete the project within one calendar year, work would need to start by June 1st. (If the March 31, 2008 fundraising date is missed, the project would shift to the 2009 work schedule with an alternative date of raising funds by March 31, 2009. If for any reason, all funds could not be raised by March 31, 2009, the funds would be allocated to other humanitarian mineclearance projects in Badakhshan.)

Project details should be online in early 2008. Meanwhile, please pass along this information informally by email or word-of-mouth.

How You Can Help

The HALO Trust USA - - is overseeing the fundraising campaign and processing donations. (Its sister organization HALO Trust in the U.K. - - is not processing donations for this project.)

If you’d like to make a donation, please visit The web page has instructions to donate to HALO Trust USA by: check, PayPal and/or credit card. HALO plans to update their website shortly, but meanwhile to correctly direct your donation to this project - write “Badakhshan, Afghanistan” in the memo field of a check, or in the “Your wish, dedication or comment” field prompted for PayPal donations, and/or manually add a line to the credit card form indicating the donation is intended for the project identified as “Badakhshan, Afghanistan.” Donors will receive tax receipts acknowledging that they specified this project.

Please email any questions about the RETURN TO NOSHAQ campaign and Wakhan to

Thank you for helping the Afghan people.

Blankonthemap will inform you in the next weeks the followings of the project, thank you !

See you soon.

Bruno, Blankonthemap webmaster
January 16th 2008

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