Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Monday, 20 July 2009 17:56 UK

Afghan mountaineers make history

By Martin Vennard
BBC News

Hindu Kush mountain range
The Hindu Kush mountain range has some of the highest peaks in the world (Photo by Aunohita Mojumdar)

Afghan climbers have scaled the highest peak in the country for the first time.

The two mountaineers made it to the summit of Mount Noshaq, 7,492m (25,000 ft) above sea level, in Afghanistan's Hindu Kush mountain range on Sunday.

Malang Jan Darya and Amruddin Sanjar had to scale a sheer cliff face and battle against driving winds and snow to reach the summit.

It took them nearly four days to get there from their base camp and plant the Afghan flag on top.

Malang Darya spoke to the BBC by satellite phone once he was safely back at the camp, 3,000 metres below the summit.

"There it's very windy and after 10 minutes I come back," he said of his experience on top.

Asked if he was happy at the top, he said: "Yes, why not because I'm the first Afghan on the top of the highest peak in Afghanistan."

Malang, 35, and Amruddin, 25, live in the valley that leads to Mount Noshaq.

They were part of a four-man Afghan team on the climb, which was organised by French mountaineers.

The Afghans trained in the French Alps beforehand and they now hope to be able to work as mountain guides.

The Hindu Kush mountain range was popular with foreign climbers back in the 1960s and the organisers also hope that this piece of good news from Afghanistan will attract foreign climbers back to the area and provide a boost for the local economy and tourism.

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