Theodore Kaye

Greater China & Central Asia


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Against the onslaught of Stalinization, one tiny band of pastoral Kyrgyz nomads opted out and escaped to Afghanistan’s Wakhan corridor – at 11 thousand feet, one the most isolated backwaters on earth. Two generations later, during the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, some 2,000 of the nomads embarked on another migration that eventually landed them in Eastern Turkey. They’ve gained far more security than their brethren back in the Wakhan, but at the cost of the very traditions that launched their exodus in the first place.

This photo essay involved reporting in Turkey, Tajikistan and Afghanistan; interviews were conducted in Tajik and Russian, with translation for key conversations in Turkish and Kyrgyz.

See my written report on the resettled Kyrgyz in Ulupamir, Turkey on Eurasianet here.

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