Once a popular stop on the 1960s hippie trail, Band-e-Amir Park and the now destroyed Buddhas of Bamiyan rarely see foreign tourists anymore.
Years of war and destruction following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and the rise of the Taliban have made these stunning sites a dangerous place to visit. But as the country slowly moves to rebuild itself, there are new signs of life.
Over the past couple of years, rangers have been trained to protect the country’s first National Park and in a rather bold move, four women have been hired. Fatima, Kubra, Nikbakht, and Sediqa are the park’s first and only female wardens and their responsibilities include assisting local tourists, teaching children about conservation and ensuring visitors do no harm to the park.
In a country where only 16 percent of women work, not only is the park doing groundbreaking conservation work, it is also challenging gender stereotypes.
Declared a national park in 2009, Band-e-Amir is made up of six azure blue mineral lakes surrounded by stunning cliffs and is home to wildlife such as the Persian leopard, ibex, urials as well as the Afghan snow finch.
Stretching over 570 square kilometres, the park is located on the Hazarajat Plateau in the mountainous Hindu Kush.
For more watch Afghanistan’s Female Wardens