STS091-703-084 Lowgar River Valley, Afghanistan June 1998
The Lowgar River Valley, visible as a dark corridor (aligned northeast-southwest) of varying widths, runs diagonally through the center of the image. The Lowgar River eventually merges with the easterly draining Kabul River just to the east of Kabul, the capital and largest city in Afghanistan. The city of Kabul (partially visible near upper right corner) is difficult to discern because the construction materials used to build the city blends in with the natural landscape. The dark corridor along the banks of the Lowgar River is the result of irrigated agricultural fields. Only 12 percent of the total land area in Afghanistan is considered arable land. Most of the mountain valleys are arid with most precipitation falling on the higher, mountainous elevations in the form of snow. Runoff from the mountains does provide some moisture for agriculture. The average elevation of the valleys around Kabul is 5900 feet (180 meters) above sea level, while many mountains peaks surrounding Kabul exceed 14000 feet (4270 meters).

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