A River Runs Through Fayzabad

A River Runs Through Fayzabad

While in orbit over central Asia, an astronaut aboard the International Space Station took this photograph of Fayzabad. The city, the capital of the Badakhshan Province, lies in a mountainous part of northeastern Afghanistan at an elevation of roughly 1,200 meters (4,000 feet).

The city is situated along the Kokcha River, which flows northward within a deep river valley surrounded by the Hindu Kush Mountains and eventually discharges into the Amu Darya River. The city lies in a transitional region that varies from cold semi-arid to Mediterranean-influenced warm-summer humid continental in the Köppen climate classification system.

This territory has experienced notable changes in its land use in recent decades, especially with commercial and administrative growth near the airport. Among the changes: a new airstrip built west of the Kokcha River. However, mountains hem in the city and limit how much development is possible.

Despite these topographical barriers, some development has spread into hilly areas south of Fayzabad. Green vegetation is mostly confined to mountain valleys, stream channels, and the Kokcha River floodplain. The Kokcha River meanders through the valley, providing a vital water resource for the region. Fields of predominantly wheat and rice cover much of the floodplain, though these flat areas are mixed with residential, industrial, and commercial activity as well.


Astronaut photograph ISS069-E-56387 was acquired on August 10, 2023, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 1150 millimeters. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 69 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by Wilfredo García López/Jacobs-JETS II Contract at NASA-JSC.