JAM, Afghanistan — It is the place that launched a thousand postcards, back in the day when tourists still came in any numbers to Afghanistan: the Minaret of Jam.
Even then, few ever actually saw it, tucked into a gorge 12 hours of rough jeep track from anywhere, in a part of the country notorious for its brigandry, Ghor Province in the west-central highlands.
Now, that road passes through Taliban territory as well, and reaching it has become even harder. The track ends at Jam, and in spring and summer the river is too high to cross to the side where the minaret is.
Officials from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization were finally able to revisit the site on Nov. 18, for the first time since 2006.