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Gorno Badakhshan (Mountainous Badakhshan, in Tajik language) or GBAO is the Eastern part of Tajikistan, a Central Asian Republic of the ex-USSR. It is also part of the Pamir mountains where several of the highest summits of the world are located: Peak Communist (7495 meters) and Peak Lenin (7134 meters). The GBAO is bordered by the Afghan Badakhshan, China, Kirghiztan and Uzbekistan. The river Gound (later known as Amu Daria or the Oxus by the Greeks) borders GBAO on the South.

The population of GBAO is about 250,000, mainly Shia Ismailis. The rest of the population is made of Sunni and of Kirghizs.

I worked in GBAO between 1994 and 1996 for the Aga Khan Foundation. The photo gallery features mainly portraits of young members of this resilient GBAO community.

An excellent site to consult about GBAO is Robert Middleton’s www.pamirs.org

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