Afghans get first national park
Afghanistan has established its first national park in a spectacular region of deep blue lakes separated by natural dams of travertine, a mineral deposit.
Band-e-Amir is visited by thousands of Afghans and pilgrims, though foreign tourism stalled with the increase in violence since 1979.
Declaring Band-e-Amir a park should help protect its fragile environment.
The new park is near the Bamyan Valley, where 1,500-year-old giant Buddha statues were destroyed by the Taleban.
Afghanistan's National Environmental Protection Agency (Nepa) said the creation of the park would help the region attract international tourism and obtain World Heritage Status.