‘In the Land of the Tian Shan Mountains’ talks about Kyrgyzstan; its people, culture, geography, society, economy, tourism, geostrategic position, politics and the future of democracy. It covers different facets of Kyrgyz state and society, giving a broader glimpse of the former Soviet state. A country which has not been written enough about even though it possesses the beautiful snowy mountains with green and fantastic pastures, fabulous waterfalls and a unique culture of hospitality. A country that is an attraction for travelers who seek the peace of mind in nature, those who love hiking and skiing and those who dare to face the real adventure that life has to offer. While reading this book, you will travel with the author to the sacred places like Sulayman Mountain and the Spring of Ayoub; Arslanbob, the largest walnut forest in the south of the country; Issyk Kul, the second largest saline lake in the world; Talas, the land of the legendary Kyrgyz hero Manas; and the beautiful landscapes of Naryn in the north. The interesting feature that grabs readers’ attention is the flavor of humor that keeps flowing throughout the book.
The story of writing about Kyrgyzstan began when I landed in a new country with a new lifestyle from the country I had come from, and it made me post my experiences and observations on the social media. I was surprised to see people’s reaction showing interest to know more about the country, culture, and the lifestyle. At that time, I learned that many people did not know about Kyrgyzstan evoking my interest to visit different regions of the country and get to know more about it. During my summer vacation, I found the opportunity to visit the southern parts of the country and I found them completely different from Bishkek. I realized that Kyrgyzstan cannot be judged by seeing Bishkek where life is busy, but in the rural areas one can enjoy the true essence of the natural beauty of the country. After finishing my studies, I experienced the northern and central parts, and upon return, I was so excited that I decided I should write about it.
Besides enjoying a new country, I also faced problems because of the unfamiliarity with the languages spoken. But then I realized that those unique stories are worth telling to readers so I included them in the book. I also talked about the similarities between the two countries in terms of observing cultural and religious festivals like Nowruz and Eid (Ait), and problems and security challenges such as corruption, drug-trafficking, trafficking in humans, domestic violence, and radicalization.
Upon my return to Afghanistan, I started shaping my ideas into a practical realm. During that time, I read almost all books on Kyrgyzstan written by Americans and Europeans, and found that my stories were different because I was seeing things through an Afghan eye.
This book carries a wealth of information and is equally important for general readers, travelers, and those interested in the affairs of Central Asia, particularly Kyrgyzstan. It is an engaging work for anyone wanting to travel to Kyrgyzstan or eager to know about this little-known country because it encompasses all the aspects from culture to society, politics to security and the business environment to tourism.
I would like to thank the OSCE Academy in Bishkek for providing me the opportunity to study and complete my Master’s degree. All the Academy staff, professors, and my classmates have been very kind and supportive during my years of study. I would also like to thank the Indies United Publishing House for providing me with a platform to publish my work. I hope the readers like my writing and I continue my journey.