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NOLAN: If you look at a map of Afghanistan, you might notice the outline of the country is shaped something like a lamb chop. What would be the bone extends to the northeast until it reaches China, where the two countries share a 47 mile border. This narrow strip of land between Tajikistan and Pakistan–140 miles long but sometimes just 10 miles wide–reaches the end of the Himalayan range and is known as the Wakhan corridor. So why is it there?

SPOONER: in the 1870s the reason the British wanted to do this was in order to set up a buffer state between the British empire in south Asia and the Russian empire in central Asia because the Russians had kept moving south through central Asia and of course the British were concerned about their northwestern frontier because its the most vulnerable part of their empire in India.

NOLAN: That was Dr. Brian Spooner, professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and curator for Near Eastern ethnology at the Penn Museum. But why does this territory extend all the way to China?
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