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Koh-i-Baba, 1908

A long mountain range stretching from east to west (34 degree 42' to 35 degree 20' N. and 68° 15' to 61° 10' E.) across the centre of Afghanistan, and forming part of the great backbone of the country. It is usually spoken of as a continuation of the Hindu Kush, and is so in fact, though the ends of the ranges overlap and are united by a flat, open watershed, known as the Shibar pass. From this point the Koh-i-Baba runs in a westerly direction to the south of Yak Walang, where it breaks into four branches. The southernmost, which is known as the Band-i-Duakhwan, the Band-i-Baian, and by other names, continues along the south of the Hari Rud valley to the immediate neighbourhood of Herat, where it is known as the Band-i- Bor. The next branch is called the Safed Koh. North of this, the Siah-Bubak, Band-i-Baba, or Koh Siah runs along the north of the Hari Rud valley, parallel to the Band-i-Baian, and forms the water- shed between the Hari Rud and Murghab. The fourth branch strikes north-west, enclosing the basin of the Upper Murghab, and dividing it from the deep valley and gorges of the Rud-i-band-i-AmTr. Branching right and left, it forms the mass of mountains which are the natural boundary of this part of Afghan-Turkistan. The western half of these mountains is called the Band-i-Turkistan ; the eastern half has no special name.

In physical features the western portion of the range actually called the Koh-i-Baba, of which the highest peaks rise to over 16,000 feet, bears considerable resemblance to the Hindu Kush. To the south of the Koh-i-Baba lies the Besud district of the Hazarajat, a hilly region of great elevation. North is the great plateau of Afghanistan, extend- ing for 140 miles in the direction of the Oxus. As to the many passes which cross the Koh-i-Baba, there is no reliable information, with the exception of the Irak (about 13,000 feet), the Hajigak (about 12,000), and the Zard Sang (about 13,000).

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Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts. Some units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.

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