Kushan Pass

Kushan Pass

Infobox Mountain Pass
Name = Kushan Pass
Photo =
Caption =
Elevation = about 4,370 m or 14,340 ft
Location = AFG
Range = Hindu Kush
Coordinates =

Transversed by =

Kushan Pass (el. about 4,370 m or 14,340 ft) is a mountain pass just west of the famous Salang Pass (3,878 m. or 12,723 ft.) in the Hindu Kush mountain range of northern Afghanistan. These two passes provide the most direct, if difficult, routes across the imposing east-west wall of the Hindu Kush mountains which divide northern Afghanistan or Tokharistan from Kabul province, which is closely connected to southern Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Vincent Smith states that Alexander took his troops across both the Khāwak and the Kaoshān or Kushan Pass. [Smith, Vincent A. (1908) "The Early History of India", p. 45. Oxford. The Clarendon Press.] However, according to some scholars, there is really no proof for this. [Vogelsang, Willem. (2002) "The Afghans", p. 9, n. 16. Blackwell Publishers. Oxford.] .

It is likely that the Pass was named after the Kushan dynasty which had a number of important sites in the region of Baghlan, to the north of the passes (dating from the 1st century BCE to the 2nd century CE), including the majestic fortified dynastic temple of Surkh Kotal and Rabatak where the fascinating Rabatak inscription listing the names of the early Kushan kings, and providing evidence on the date of the beginning of the Kanishka era was found a few years ago.

It seems it is the Yangi-Yuli, or "New Road" of Babur (1483-1530), the conqueror of northern India and founder of the Mughal Dynasty. [Wood, John (1872) "A Journey to the Source of the River Oxus. With an essay on the Geography of the Valley of the Oxus by Colonel Henry Yule". London: John Murray, p. lxxiv.]

Both these passes, so important for the early history of Afghanistan, are now bypassed by the paved road that runs through the Salang tunnel under the Salang Pass, completed by the Soviets in 1964, at a height of about 3,400 m. It links Charikar and Kabul with Kunduz, Khulm, Mazari Sharif and Termez..


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