The Curse of Geography is an on-going series of investigative reports focused on the relationship of geographic isolation or proximity on social justice, human rights and public policy in selected locations around the world. Our reports are produced in multi-media format and in partnership with artists, journalists, NGOs, academic and cultural institutions, and news outlets.
In this third installment in this series, Emma Kazaryan reports from Badakhshan, located on the borderlands of Tajikistan and Afghanistan, one of the most inaccessible parts of the world. An anachronistic place, converged upon by uneven development and outward migration. Kazaryan recounts the journey traveling along the M41, sometimes referred to as the “Heroin Highway.” For the past three decades, the M41 has served as the primary trafficking route for opiates and heroin smuggled from Afghanistan through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and into Russia and Europe.
The full text of the piece on Badakhshan can be accessed via the Curse of Geography website, along with previous reports on lobster fishing and drug trafficking in La Mosquitia, the far eastern coast of Honduras, and on the diminishing local fishing communities of Western Newfoundland.
Emma Kazaryan is a multimedia journalist based in New York City. She holds a master's degree from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Creative Writing with a minor in Photography from Baruch College, CUNY. She is ethnically Armenian who was born in Georgia and grew up in Russia. Her passion is covering international affairs, particularly post-Soviet geopolitics, and the Middle East.