We spent today in Ishkashim and went to the Afghan market. The market is held on an island in the Panj River about 5 kilometers west of Ishkashim. The island is part of the no mans land between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. To get to it tourists like us leave our passports at the Tajik end of a substantial steel bridge and cross part of the river to the island. The market area itself is simply a flat area of river stones, surrounded by a fence. There are three covered areas in the market, one used by traders for their goods, another used as a "food court" area and another one that we never did get to see inside of.
Traders from Afghanistan bring their goods to the market to sell to local Tajiks. In truth the goods themselves were not very interesting (to us) covering things like clothing, shoes, household consumables, carpets and a limited supply of fresh vegetables. BUT the people and the crowd was facinating. So most of this post is the pictures above.
Interestingly all fresh food brought to the market is tested at an entry station for "suitability". And the market area is patrolled by police and army from both sides of the border. No guns are allowed into the market area.
At lunch Nina and I had a local dish called Plov (плов) it is a rice and vegatable dish with a little bit of meat on the top. Nina so enjoyed the lunch that she asjked Vali (the guest house manager) whether we could have it for dinner. He agreed and we watched and helped while Vali, his brother and cousin set about making Plov for us. It turned into a fun but somewhat embarrassing evening as it took 3-4 hours of constant attention to make the plov. However the result was great.