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Afghanistan Establishes First National Park

Written by Derek Markham

Published on April 22nd, 2009

Good news from Afghanistan this week: the country declared its first internationally recognized national park today, called Band-e-Amir, which includes a striking series of six deep blue lakes in one of the country’s best-known natural areas.

The area of Band-e-Amir is near the Bamyan Valley, where 1,500-year-old giant Buddha statues once stood before being destroyed by the Taliban.

Funding for creating the park came from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and the WCS conducted the preliminary wildlife surveys, and helped to identify and delineate the boundaries of the park. WCS also helped the government to hire and train local rangers, developed the management plan for the park, and provided assistance to the government to craft the laws authorizing the park’s creation.