In a dusty valley in Band-e Amir national park, Bamiyan’s best (and heaviest) wrestler is locking foreheads with Ali Ahmad, a scrawny looking dude from a neighboring village.
Ali Ahmad has a firm grip on the back of the chubby guy’s shorts.
BAMIYAN, Afghanistan—Wedged between the Hindu Kush and Koh-i-Baba mountain ranges in the central highlands of Afghanistan, Bamiyan is a sleepy, unimposing town.
During winter, when the temperature drops far below zero and most hotels close because of frozen pipes, Bamiyan even boasts the country’s only ski slope (no lift or après ski just yet).
Ibrahim has condensed all of this into an effective sales pitch that he feeds me several times over the two days we spend together. Luring tourists from outside the country is a different matter entirely.
A large Hazara population has also settled in Kabul where they make up around one-quarter of the population.
Since the ouster in 2001 of the Taliban who drove Hazaras out of the area, many of them have returned to Bamiyan.
When I visit Bamiyan, the sixth Silk Road Festival is in full swing.