The Pamir Kyrgyz are called one of the hardiest people of the world, whose life has developed in difficult nomadic conditions of harsh highlands. It sounds impressive, but it turns out that the life of our ethnic fellow men is far from the romantic descriptions of the travelers.
The number of the Pamir Kyrgyz is decreasing from year to year.
After the population census in Afghanistan in 2010, there were 3,600 of them, and last year there were only 1,050 of them in the Little Pamir and 825 — in the Big Pamir.
Our authorities support the Pamir people as possible: they send them humanitarian aid, conduct medical examinations for them. But this is not enough.
The problem of their resettlement has been raised as by the deputies of the Parliament, the government, so by the Pamir residents themselves for ten years. Last year, they promised that the first group would come to Kyrgyzstan this spring. But it did not happen.
What is the reason for the delay in resettlement and what difficulties will the officials and the Pamirinhabitants themselves face told to 24.kg news agency Zhypar Mambetova, head of the department for the returnees' affairs of the State Migration Service of Kyrgyzstan.
— The first month of summer is coming to an end, but the issue of the arrival of the Pamir Kyrgyz is not settled. Why?
— We planned their arrival in the spring, but it turned out that almost all of them have not only foreign passports, but also internal passports. In May, 44 people registered their biometric data, this is necessary to obtain Afghan passports. We were promised that their documents would be ready within two weeks, but there is no such possibility due to the difficult situation in the country. Most likely, the Pamir Kyrgyz will come by the autumn.
— It was told about arrival of children. What is their approximate age?
— Only 30 out of 44 people who will come to Kyrgyzstan are children between the ages of 6 and 12. The rest are adults. There are also girls, they will come with their parents. Girls are cherished as the apple of an eye. But boys can come alone.
— Our human rights activists used to sound alarm: the Pamir girls are given in marriage in childhood. Have you met anyone like that?
Yes. It’s terrible: girls are given in marriage from the age of ten, it is very hard for them there.Zhypar Mambetova
Women make up only one third of the population. The Pamir is in the first place in the world in maternal and child mortality.
— Who is the initiator of the resettlement?
— Last year, we have managed to get to the territory of Afghanistan for the first time. Before that, we had delivered humanitarian aid for the Pamir Kyrgyz to the border, they took it from there. And in 2016, both Tajikistan and Afghanistan agreed that we should bring humanitarian aid directly to the Pamirs. Then the Pamir Kyrgyz asked us to teach their children
— Please tell us about the impressions of this trip…
— The climate is very severe. Nothing grows there, except for the grass. And the grass is not high. There are no conditions. They do not even have toilets: they ease themselves just outside.
I feel very sorry for them. They die even from flu and cold.
Their number is reducing from year to year by six to seven percent. If this trend continues, it is likely that they will simply disappear in 10–15 years.
Perhaps, someone thinks that resettling of the Pamir residents to Kyrgyzstan will solve the problem. In my opinion, they just need to be taught. They need to know what drugs are and how to use them. There is no other way out. No one from here or from Afghanistan agrees to go to them high in the mountains and treat them or teach them something.
When I came to the Pamir Kyrgyz, I got the impression that I was in the middle ages. They still have an ancient culture, a way of life and consciousness. They survive thanks to livestock breeding: yaks, sheep and camels.
— Are not you afraid that these children will be frightened by cars, TVs, a city, even an airplane by which they will have to travel?
— That’s why they can not be brought to Bishkek or Osh. This can harm the health of the children.
The final decision, where they will go, has not yet been made. As a variant, Naryn region and Chon-Alai were considered. I think they would feel more comfortable in Chon-Alai. This region is located on the border with Tajikistan, the climatic conditions are similar to the Pamir, and it is located at the similar height.
-How long will these unusual guests stay here?
-It’s up to them to decide. If one of them wants to return to the Pamirs, we will provide such an opportunity. If they want to stay here, of course, we’ll leave them here.
— What will you teach them?
— The Ministry of Education will develop a special education program: one for all, because the level of knowledge of a five-year-old child and a 15-year-old teenager is the same. We will start with the alphabet. All that they are taught there is reading the Quran in Arabic. We will also teach them the Kyrgyz language.
— Is their language very different from ours?
-I understood them. Have you heard Batken dialect? Pamir Kyrgyz speak very similarly. But there is a strong influence of Pashto language, spoken by the Afghans.
— How much money will be allocated for education and accommodation of the Pamir Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan?
— 10 million soms are annually allocated from the republican budget for the Pamir Kyrgyz. Humanitarian aid is sent for them for this money. I think that their education and accommodation will be financed from these funds.