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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 5, p. 27.


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A FGHANISTAN


27


On the north Afghanistan is bounded by Russian territory, or
territory under Russian influence. The whole of this northern frontier
has been demarcated, from Zulfikar on the west to Lake Victoria on
the east. From the east end of this lake the boundary runs south to
a peak on the Sarikol range, north of the Taghdumbash Pamir, where
it strikes Chinese territory. This section has also been demarcated.
The eastern frontier of Afghanistan marches with Chitral, and thence
with territory occupied by trans-frontier tribes under British influence
to Domandi in the south-east. The eastern boundary has been defined,
but in certain localities it has not been demarcated; throughout its
length it traverses a mountainous country. From Domandi to Koh-i-
Malik-Siah, Afghanistan is bordered on the south by Baluchistan;
and its western frontier, from Koh-i-Malik-Siah in the south to Zulfikar
in the north, marches with Persia.
The following description of the natural divisions of Afghanistan is
taken from a paper read by Sir Thomas Holdich before the Society of
Arts (Society of Arts Journal of March I , 1904):-
'Afghanistan is a long, oval-shaped country, stretching through 700
miles of length from south-west to north-east, with a general breadth
of about 350 miles, narrowing to a point on the
north-east, where an arm is extended outwards to aPhysica
the Pamirs. Right across it, from west to east (but
curving upwards to touch this extended arm at its eastern extremity),
is a band of mountains, which separates the basin of the Oxus on the
north from that of the Indus and the Helmand on the south, but
which still leaves space for a river (the Hari Rud, or river of Herat)
to form a basin of its own on the north-west.'
To the north of it lie Afghan-Turkistan and Badakhshan, in the basin
of the Oxus and the fertile Herat valley.
'A very large space of Central Afghanistan is occupied by the long
spurs of the great mountain mass beyond Kabul, over which runs the
high road to Bamian and the Oxus. These long spurs extend south-
westwards till they reach Kandahar; and they enclose the valleys of
the Helmand, the Arghandab, the Farrah, and other rivers, all of which
drain to the Helmand lagoons. All the northern parts of them, about
the highly elevated base from which they spring, possess a well-merited
reputation for bleak, inhospitable, unproductive savagery. There is no
more unpromising land in Asia than the wind-swept home of the
Hazara tribes, over a great space of its northern surface.'
South of Badakhshan, from which it is separated by the Hindu Kush,
' The Kabul river basin includes the most beautiful, if not the most
fertile, of the romantic valleys of Afghanistan. The great affluents
from the north which find their way from the springs and glens of the



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