Afghanistan's national park: Conflict-ridden Afghanistan has announced it will establish the country's first national park. The Band-e-Amir park, spread over 56,000 ha in Bamyan province, will protect a series of lakes separated by natural dams made of travertine deposits, a rare sedimentary rock. Travertine deposits are found in only a few places in the world; most of them are on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Declaring Band-e-Amir a national park would help protect its fragile environment and help it bag World Heritage status, the authorities claimed. This would also revive tourism that died following the Soviet aggression in 1979. Though much of the park's wildlife has been lost, a survey shows there still are a few ibex (a species of wild goat), urial (a species of wild sheep), wolves and various bird species like the Afghan snow finch.
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