Young mountaineers posing for a group photo on Nawshakh, Badakhshan

First group of Afghan mountaineers climb Nawshakh  

A group of nine Afghan mountaineers climbed over Badakhshan’s Nawshakh mountain for the first time in history, without support from foreign organization. From Kabul, the group first moved to Qazideh village of Wakhan district, and after a three-week-climbing, they reached the peak at 07:00 PM, on August 06, conquering the 7,492 meter-high peak of Hindu Kush in Afghanistan.

The 37-year-old Ali Akbar Sakhi, founder of Hike Venture Group, says that he would always dream to climb Nawshakh on his own and without being helped by national and international NGOs.

With limited equipment and within 21 days, they reached Nawshakh’ peak, says Mr. Sakhi. “I was interested in climbing when I was a young child. In 2017, I founded Hike Venture Group and 180 hikers joined the Group. We ascended mountains in Panjsher, Bamyan, Badghis and Badakhshan.”

Nine qualified climbers including three females were selected for Nawshakh venture which was financially sponsored by Afghans living in overseas, according to him.

Fatima Sultani, Aqela Hashemi, Tahera Sultani, Zabih Afzali, Boman Ali Adina, Ali Shah Farhang, Kheybar Khan, Adab Shah Gohari, and Ali Akbar Sakhi were on the team

“I picked up three ladies and do not regret it; they [did well] and were as strong and energetic as men,” says Mr. Sakhi.

The 18-year-old Fatima, who is the youngest member of the group, joined the group three months ago. She ventured many trips including Panjsher and Salang.

A foggy weather was the biggest challenge I faced. It was disturbing my sight but we overcame the challenge, says Fatima with a cheerful excitement on her face. “Our next venture is to climb Everest.”

The 24-year-old Tahera is happy to have climbed Nawshakh. Oxygen deficiency was the main challenge on the peak of the mountain, she says.

“Not being familiar with hiking equipment was a challenge for us. We climbed over the peak by the help of a rope tightened us to each other,” she says, underlining that the mountain was covered with frozen snow.

Hossein, who is member of Hike Venture Group, says that they used to go for hiking once a week before the outbreak of Covid-19 but bow they go once a month.

“Having females on the team is not easy—particularly when we go to provinces including Panjsher for hiking,” says Hossein. Last time as we were on trip, individuals including security people in Panjsher would excuse themselves to interrogate us for what purpose females were on the team, with some of them saying that climbing was not for girls, he told Kabul Now.

Achievements made by the team might change the environment for female mountaineers in the future, Mr. Hossein says hopefully.