Band-e-Amir, a vast expanse of amazingly blue lakes set in austere desert cliffs, nearly 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) high in the Hindu Kush mountains, has opened as Afghanistan’s first national park.
The park, which was a tourist destination in peacetime back in the 1970s, is in a region of Afghanistan that has been comparatively stable for years. And the U.S. government is funding a new road that should cut the drive time by two-thirds.
“Look at this. It is poetry for the eyes. Poetry for the soul. Poetry for the spirit,” said Prince Mostapha Zaher, grandson of Afghanistan’s last king and now head of its environment agency. “Afghanistan will become again a tourist destination.”