A life of adventure on the trail of the last ancient rugs of Afghanistan

A life of adventure on the trail of the last ancient rugs of Afghanistan

Kabul (AFP) - In his frantic search for Afghanistan's last old rugs, Shari Allahqul braved snowstorms on the country's high peaks, was beaten up by highwaymen and learned to hide from the Taliban.

On horseback, with saddled mules to carry his booty, he crisscrosses the steep and rocky lands of northern Afghanistan to buy their precious handmade rugs from the nomadic tribes.

"The roads are dangerous, populated by wolves and enemies.We must spend the nights in forests or deserts," narrates Chari, who relies on his robust sheepdog to protect him while he sleeps.

For weeks or months, carpet seekers roam the caravan trails of yesteryear, scouring each village to find rare old coins to trade for money or modern consumer goods.

They will resell them in markets, to collectors.A quality carpet, defined by its age, condition, size, can cost a hundred or two hundred dollars in a village and earn them about as much.

But this life is risky.Chari, who has led it since childhood, has known many misadventures; once he was beaten with rifle butts by bandits.money, they did not realize the value of his rugs."They said to me: + Throw away those old rugs +".

These dangers have always gone with the trade, he remembers his father telling him the story long ago of a friend who went in search of rugs who had been devoured alive by wolves after being stranded.by a snowstorm.

Posted Date: 2021-03-21

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