The Geopolitical Significance of Wakhan Corridor


The rules that apply to the rest of Afghanistan are often irrelevant in the Wakhan Corridor – a frigid, finger-shaped stretch of land squeezed between Tajikistan, Pakistan and China that is cut off from the Afghan heartland by the icy ramparts of the Hindu Kush.

The Wakhan was not always sealed off from the currents of history. A branch of the Silk Road once ran through here, bringing influences from different civilizations. Outside the village of Sarhad-e Broghil, the ruins of an eighth-century Tibetan fort sit on a knoll. In terms of religious belief, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism and Islam have all been prevalent in the region at different times and have left their mark.

Wakhan corridor is of immense importance for Pakistan, because it is Pakistan’s gateway to Central Asia. Pakistan, through Wakhan corridor, can connect to Central Asia. If Pakistan is successful in penetrating the Central Asian markets, it can be a major trade corridor through the seaports of Karachi, Port Qasim and Gwadar.

China is opening its narrow border with Afghanistan with roads and probably a tunnel under the Pamir ranges. Pakistan and china cooperation in the region will boost transit trade and will offer the landlocked Central Asian states an opportunity to connect to Gwadar and the Kashgar economic corridor.

These developments are disturbing for India, because India is investing heavily in Chabahar port of Iran to gain access to the Central Asian market, but due to its strategic impotency, India is unable to undo the Pak-China cooperation in the Wakhan region.


India’s design to circumvent Pakistan from Central Asia is a distant dream, provided our policy makers devise such a policy to best utilize the Wakhan and Pamir region with China.

In the past, there were few announcements on the Pak-Tajik road link via Wakhan, but it was in doldrums; Pakistan’s future lies in its natural ability to be a transit trade hub of the entire region.

The newly appointed Tajik envoy to Islamabad, Sherali Jononov said that Tajikistan was interested in Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, adding that the Tajikistan government had completed the Pakistan-Tajikistan road link work of their side.

If our planners became late in recognizing the importance of Wakhan corridor, India may hurt Pakistan’s interests badly.

Other sources:

  1. The Geo-Political Significance of The Southern Passes of The Wakhan Corridor by InayatUllah Faizi
  2. Wakhan, a window into Central Asia by Inayatullah Faizi.
1 2

is a freelance writer, geopolitical issues interests him the most. He can be reached at

Discussion6 Comments

  1. Pretty sure the Wakhan border was carved out of Pakistan by the Occupying British to divide Khorasan between The Briitsh Empire and The Soviet Empire.

    Afghanistan was thus created as a buffer state with it’s modern borders, the very heart of Khorasan to divide the encroaching Russian Empire from the British Empire.

    Tajikistan had already fallen miserably into Russian control and therefore important to create a buffer zone between these two brutal imperial empires.

    The Wakhan is Pakistani territory and can bridge Khorasan again like it was once before but through sophisticated rail, road and energy links can breath so much life into mineral rich, resource rich, culturarlly rich but sadly entire region of Khorasan.

  2. Apologies imperial Russia and imperial Britain were at logger head for strategic depth and expanding their empires in Central Asia.

    Unable to defeat the tribal nations in these areas they created a buffer zone.

    I guess some things never change, history repeats itself and its the same strategy adopted, new players but the great game continues.

  3. Wakhan never was and never will be a part of Pakistan. Wakhan has has more than a 2000 year old history as an independent territory till the bloody soviet and Britishers it was a part of Badakshan state and always will be it was not only wakkan that was split and made buffer zone it was Badakshan and wakhan is the heart of Badakshan we will regain our land from Tajikistan, Afghanistan, China and Pakistan one day long live Great and United Badakshan our land our life…….

Leave A Reply