With the construction of the 1300 kilometer long Karakoram Highway from Islamabad in Pakistan to Kashgar in China, a formerly remote mountain region got direct access to the lowlands.
The new road was completed in the 1980s: suddenly it enabled the rapid movement of a vast number of people and goods. It has greatly reduced travel times and has radically changed the traditional lifestyles of village communities.
Children learn English at school, they want to become doctors and engineers... Farmers plant seed potatoes and sell them to the lowlands. Now they earn money, but they gave up the old principle of self sufficency. In the shops all the goods of the global market are available ; in a region, where only a few years ago hardly anything came from outside.
Things are changing rapidly, although the war in Afghanistan and the conflict in Kashmir brought back some isolation, as no foreigners visited the region for sometime. But there is no way back: the Karakoram Highway is a one-way road