In a thin strip, wedged between Tajikistan and Pakistan, there is a village where the Taliban has struggled to impose their rule.
Known as the Wakhan Corridor, approximately 12,000 villagers live at an altitude of 4,500 metres, in the harsh, desolate terrain.
The Wakhi people live a simple, relaxed life, with their livestock and few luxuries. A few families are unaware that the Taliban was ever in power, or that the US army invaded.
A Wakhi nomad girl stands on a rock as she overlooks the harsh, desolate terrain between Tajikstan and Pakistan
Wakhi nomad women milking yaks. The 12,000 Wakhi people live a simple, relaxed life with their livestock in Afghanistan
An Afghan woman in vibrant blue and green, inside her traditional Pamiri house, which is simply put together without luxuries
This area has recently been encouraged by the Afghan government to attract tourists from the Western world looking for an adventure.
To visit these villages one must travel through the tense Afghanistan atmosphere, pass border control, and drive up a primitive road built over half a century ago.
Wakhi nomad family inside a yurt, where they prepare food and hot drinks on an open flame with a pit for fuel and ashes
French photographer Eric Lafforgue visited these little-known lands in August 2016 to understand their movements in tourism and meet the Afghans that time forgot.
He said: ‘First I travelled to Khandud, which is famous for the colourful outfits of its women. With the help of the Aga Khan Foundation, the women have even opened a shop to sell souvenirs for tourists. Socks, vests and embroideries.’
The main tourist attraction is the Pamiri houses, known as ‘Chid’. They are built out of stone and plaster, and each retains particular features symbolising spiritual and traditional aspects.
Mr Lafforgue said: ‘At first they appear basic but they reveal symbols and beliefs when you ask the owners. In each room, five wooden pillars – symbolising the five pillars of Islam – support a beam skylight called Chorkhona.’
The photographer continued to travel deeper into the Wakhan Corridor, to finally meet the Wahki nomads in the mountains of Grand Pamir.
He said: ‘A friendly Pamiri is responsible for the organisation, he owns a small travel agency in Ishkashim and has high hopes for the future. He must make do with the limited resources, the Internet is non-existent in the region.
‘Local guides will take turns from village to village to share equitably the revenues generated by tourists.’
The Wakhi villages are completely isolated from the outside world, and have allegedly lived in the mountains for 2,000 years.
The photographer said: ‘Distractions are rare for children. Nobody knows Messi or Ronaldo. Tourists are eagerly awaited as they provide some excitement in this harsh and monotonous existence.’
A father looks in as his baby sleeps in a cradle. Some families have no idea about the US Army invasion after the Taliban’s rise to power in this largely untouched strip of land
Above left, portrait of an Afghan girl with kohled eyes, wearing a vibrant blue scarf, traditional of the brightly coloured clothing. Above right, a young boy with a shaved head grins eagerly for photographer Eric Lafforgue, the first tourist of the year
Despite the encouragement of visitors to the area, Mr Lafforgue was the first tourist of this year, with the season ending shortly after due to snow covering the mountains for six months.
Mr Lafforgue said: ‘The Wakhi chief’s wife said to me: ‘They say that in the plain, peace has returned and tourists are back in Afghanistan. I hope that many of them will come and visit us to discover our culture.”