Views: Blue Mountain Lakes In Afghanistan

The winter landscape around the deep, blue mountain lakes of Band-e-Amir in the central Afghan province of Bamiyan presents an arresting spectacle empty of people – but the absence of visitors is costing locals dearly.

Band-e Amir, situated around 3,000 metres (9,840 ft) above sea level and a couple of hours drive from the renowned Buddhist sites of Bamiyan, usually attracts thousands of visitors a year seeking respite from the endless conflict.

All that changed this year as the Taliban swept through one province after another, culminating in the shock overthrow of the Western-backed government in Kabul in August and plunging the economy into crisis as vital foreign aid dried up.

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