Western Afghanistan - Program for Culture and Conflict Studies
Herat is the key city in Western Afghanistan and has been a cultural center of the region since the days of the Silk Road. While Herat served as a major oasis on the Silk Road it is near the Safed Mountains but soon becomes part of the great Central Asian steppe. Herat has long been considered as a key link between the trade routes of the Middle East, Persia, Central Asia and India.
The climate of Western Afghanistan is dominated by Bad-e Sad o Bist (the wind of 120 days) that makes it both hot and dry. Summer temperatures can each 38 degrees C and drop below freezing during the winter months, especially December to February.
Herat has been relatively free of intense fighting during the last 15 years. For much of the last 30 years, Ismail Khan has dominated the politics of the region and has even referred to himself as “amir” of the west.