An old Afghan proverb states: “There is a path to the top of even the highest mountain.” Four Afghan Ismailis took it literally. Together with a team of Frenchmen, they set out to climb Noshaq — the country’s highest mountain.
Louis Mernier, a Frenchman, had been living in Afghanistan since 2002. In 2007, during a commercial trek in Wakhan, a mountainous corridor in the northeastern part of the country, he met Malang, a poet; Amruddin, a farmer; Afiat Khan, a mason; and Gurg Ali, a teacher. Ranging in age from 25 – 35, they shared a passion for climbing; but they also harboured a common desire to offer a message of peace and hope to their countrymen.
Together, over a cup of chai, they conceived their vision, and called their expedition Afghans to the Top. At 7 492 metres, Noshaq is the highest peak in Afghanistan and had never been scaled by an Afghan. It was a feat, they hoped, that might become a symbol of the heights to which their country could once again aspire. Their motivation and ambition earned them the moniker The Four Tigers of Wakhan.
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