Pastoral Production Strategies and Market Orientation of the Afghan Kirghiz

  • Ted CallahanEmail author
Part of the Advances in Asian Human-Environmental Research book series (AAHER)


‘Closed frontiers nomadism’ as an adaptation to specific political-geographic conditions represents a fusion of political, social and economic strategies. For the Kirghiz of the Afghan Pamir, surrounded by three international borders, the two main economic aspects of closed frontiers nomadism involve maximal utilization of pasture resources in an arbitrarily delimited geographic space and production of both primary (livestock) and secondary (wool, dairy) commodities for subsistence and trade. Market access remains one of the key issues facing the Kirghiz who throughout their recent history have been forced to adapt to geopolitical events far beyond their control but which directly impact their lives and livelihoods. In every instance, the Kirghiz have demonstrated great sophistication and resourcefulness in maintaining access to the twin pillars of their economy: productive pastoral resources (pasture and livestock) and market access. Kirghiz dynamism is reflected in their leasing of winter pastures in Tajikistan, cross-border trade with Pakistan, use of National Solidarity Programme funds to improve fodder production and manipulation of international aid agencies to receive annual food assistance. Such activities challenge the notion of pastoralism as a ‘timeless’ or ‘traditional’ activity, despite outward appearances based on a relatively limited material culture.


Kirghiz Pastoralism Amanat Closed frontiers nomadism Pamir Afghanistan 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Boston University Arts & Sciences AnthropologyBostonUSA

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