| Kabul | Istalef


The village of Istalef, situated some 30 km north of Kabul, has long been renowned for its natural beauty and craft traditions. The Mughal emperor Babur describes in his memoirs improvements he made to the irrigation of the gardens on the takht, where ancient plane trees stand to this day. The bazaar and surrounding villages were laid waste by British forces in 1842 during the first Anglo-Afghan war, attacked by Afghan government forces in the 1980s and by Taliban in 1998. Since 2002 there has been extensive reconstruction of damaged homes and resumption of the horticulture for which local orchards are known.


Photos (c) Jolyon Leslie


Reconstruction of Istalef bazaar 1991
Overgrown grave in Istalef village 1991
Potter at work in Kolalan Istalef 2003
Reconstructed village housing above Istalef 2005
Settlement in upper valley looking south Istalef March 2016
Water with village of Istalef beyond, March 2016
View from takht of bazaar to north Istalef March 2016
Gravestone above takht Istalef, March 2016
View from east of takht with ancient plane trees Istalef March 2016
Traditional stone house Dara-e Istalef, March 2016
Young villagers in Darra Istalef, March 2016
Partially reconstructed village below Istalef, April 2016
Istalef ridge from west with argharwan blossom, April 2016
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