By Tashkurghan, on the N.
On the west, Badakshan is bounded by a line which crosses the Turkestan plains southwards from the junction of the Kunduz and Oxus rivers till it touches the eastern waterdivide of the Tashkurghan river (here called the Koh-i-Chungar), and then runs south-east, crossing the Sarkhab affluent of the Khanabad (Kunduz), till it strikes the Hindu Kush.
At Airatan, a little above the Pata Kesar ferry, there are ruins, as also at Khisht Tapa (where the road from Kabadian to Tashkurghan leaves the river) and at Kalukh Tapa.
Opposite Tashkurghan the Oxus plain narrows to a short 25 m.
One of these routes follows the Balkh river to its head from Tashkurghan, and then, preserving a high general level of 8000 to 9000 ft., it passes over the water-divides separating the upper tributaries of the Kunduz river, and drops into the valley formed by another tributary at Bamian.
Bamian is famous for its wall-cut figures, and at Haibak (on the route between Tashkurghan and Kabul) there are some most interesting Buddhist remains.
TASHKURGHAN, or Khulm, a khanate and town of Afghan Turkestan.
The ancient town of Khulm stood in the Oxus plain, surrounded by orchards of famous productiveness; but it was destroyed by Ahmad Shah Abdali, who founded Tashkurghan in the middle of the 18th century, and took all the inhabitants away from Khulm to populate it.
Ancient Khulm is now only a mass of ruins; but Tashkurghan, lying two or three miles to the south of it, has become the great trade-mart of Afghan Turkestan and second only in importance to Mazar-i-Sharif, the military centre of the province; while it is much larger and more prosperous than the latter place.
At Tashkurghan the caravans from India and Bokhara meet, and from here the merchandise is distributed all over the country.