Climbers Conquer Highest Mountain Peak
July 20, 2009, KABUL (AFP): Two Afghan mountaineers have planted their national flag on the country's highest peak, becoming the first Afghans to conquer the 7,492-metre (24,580-foot) Mount Noshaq, organisers told AFP.
"Two climbers reached the summit of Noshaq... where they planted the Afghan flag. They are the first Afghans to do so," said Louis Meunier, one of two Frenchmen with the pair, speaking from their base camp on Sunday.
One, Malang Daria, said ahead of the trip that planting the national flag on the summit would be "a proud moment for all Afghans."
Before starting on their expedition on June 26, the group spent nearly a month training in the French Alps to "learn the necessary techniques... build the whole team and acclimatise to high altitude," said Meunier.
Noshaq is located in the far northeast in the Wakhan Corridor that connects the country to China. It is part of the legendary Hindu Kush.
Meunier and fellow French climber Jerome Veyret earlier said they hoped the expedition would be a "sign of hope and peace."
"Maybe it will also inspire other potential travellers to come to the Wakhan," an area untouched by the violence seen elsewhere in Afghanistan, said Meunier.
The expedition made use of about 50 porters to bring provisions to a base camp in this remote corner of the country, which is inaccessible to pack animals.