KHOROG, December 15, 2009, Asia-Plus  -- Snow-trapped Afghan shepherds have called for help.

Zabeullah Nasiri, Second Secretary, Afghan General Consulate in Khorog, told Asia-Plus today that 25 Afghan shepherds along with 3,500 head of cattle and sheep and goats have been stranded on the high altitude Big Pamir pastures, which border GBAO’s Murgab and Ishkashim districts, for already three days due to heavy snowfall.

According to him, an attempt to return to low places of the Wakhan Valley may lead to loss of the shepherds and livestock due to heavy snowfall and long distance (some 80 kilometers).  “The only way to rescue the shepherds and their livestock is to provide them relief from the territory of the Ishkashim district in Gorno Badakhshan,” said Afghan diplomat, “For this, the shepherds have to cross the border and go some 40 kilometers along the motor road and cross into Afghan territory via the Langar bridge in the Ishkashim district.”

He added that they had made request for help to the GBAO local authorities.

The source at GBAO governor’s office said that the Afghan General Consulate’s request had been handed over to the Tajik MFA.