Photographer Matthieu Paley hiked up into the Wakhan corridor in Afghanistanin during the winter of 2008. It had not seen tourists since 1972 because of how intolerable the region is to most people not used to the terrain. Only about 1,200 Kyrgyz people live in the rough stretch of land surrounded by China, Tajikistan, and Pakistan. Less than half of the children born there live to see their fifth birthday and it is not uncommon for women to die during childbirth. 

Paley documented the area for more than a decade, publishing a book about his experience entitled Pamir: Forgotten on the Roof of the World. The term pamir is the Kyrgyz word for homeland. The photos he took during his stint are phenomenal as they remind us of how much we take modern day conveniences for granted. You can see more photos on his website and you can refer to a National Geographic article for information about the people of the area.

{via NPR]