Military


Chitral, Pakistan
3553'15"N 7148'01"E

By the end of September 2001, American and Pakistani military officials had discussed the possibility of American use of five airfields in Pakistan: Peshawar, Quetta, Dalbandin, Pasni, and Chitral. Ultimately, Chitral was not among the bases selected for use.

The small airstrip at Chitral is in Pakistan's northwest. The single runway is 5800 feet long and 100 feet wide. PIA operates daily flights between Peshawar and Chitral, subject to weather conditions. The flying time is 50 minutes.

Chitral district has Afghanistan on its North, South and West. A narrow strip of Afghan territory, Wakhan, separates it from Tajikistan. It has always been a very important route for many invaders to south east Asia, Including Alexander the great Scythians, Mangol Changez Khan and numerous others. The Chitral Valley, at an elevation of 1,100 meters (3,700 ft) is popular with mountaineers, anglers, hunters, hikers, naturalists and anthropologists. Chitral is located in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, amidst the range of the Hindu Kush. The total area of Chitral is 243,818 acres and the population is 222,241 (1988). The people of Chitral are called the Kho and their language is Khowar. Khowar belongs to the Dardic group of Indo-Aryan language and is spoken not only in Chitral but also in some other northern areas of Pakistan; some parts of Yasin, Gilgit, and Swat.

The capital of the Chitral district is Chitral town, situated on the western bank of the Chitral River (or Kunar River). The population is about 20,000. Chitral is situatated near the the Karakorams, the Hindu Kush and the mighty Himalayas. The city stand at the foot of the Tirich Mir, the highest peak of Hindu Kush, about 25,000 feet high. In the middle of the town where the river makes a big turn, there is the former ruler's palace surrounded by the woods. Aside the fort and at the edge of the sport ground is the Shahi mosque. The main street runs straight from north to south and along it is the bazaar with its various shops. At the end of the bazaar is the polo ground.

Chitral is a small town with a few tourist class hotels. The tourist season in Chitral is from June to September. Chitral is accessible from Peshawar by the 227-mile jeepable road which goes via Malakand, Dir and the 3200 meters high Lowari Pass. Chitral can also be reached from Gilgit via the 3719 meters high Shandur Pass. Distance 405km (252miles). Time required will be 25 hours.

The maximum temperature in June is 35C (95F) and the minimum is 20C (67F). In September, the maximum is 24C (75F) and minimum 8C (46F). Spring begins in February, with the valleys turning green by March. The heavy rains of April can wash away lower roads, and by May the melting snow increases river flow. By June the temperatures rise, and the major passes that remained impassable through the winter finally reopen for road traffic. Chitral's most noteworthy building is the Shahi Mosque, with an ornate dome and minarets.



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