Murghab, Tajikistan

2013 Presidential Elections

Murghab is a city of 4,000 residents high up on in the Pamir Mountains of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region in eastern Tajikistan. It is the highest town in the former Soviet Union at 11,869 ft. It is located along the Pamir Highway, the only continuous route through Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan through the difficult terrain of the mountains and serves as the main supply route to the region’s capital Khorog.

I was in this desolate town for a few days in order to interview people in the lead up to Presidential elections. Though deep in Tajikistan, the majority population are ethnic Kyrgyz, a Turkic people whose language does not resemble the Persian tongue of the country. Therefore, Russian is the fallback language. Classified as tundra climate, people there make their living with little precipitation and a yearly high of 47 °F (8.7 °C) and air thin on oxygen.

Electricity is a infrequent and when on, flows at a low rate. When we arrived, we went into a market where, though there was a light inside, it was so dim it might as well have been shut off requiring us to use flashlights to look at what they sold.

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