Welcome to Istalif official Website


This village 50 minutes drive out of Kabul is a terrible reminder of the devastation caused by the bitter war fought for the area by the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. Today it is mostly in ruins, but a small artisan initiative is breathing tentative life into the place. The small handful of craftsmen are mostly potters and their creations have a compelling rustic beauty. The colours they use are mostly royal blue and deep turquoise. The merchandise ranges from salad bowls and plates to jugs and teacups and saucers.

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To reach Istalif head out of Kabul on the Shomali road. After 45 minutes you will pass a white roadside petrol pump on the left and see immediately a turning to the left marked by NGO signposts. This dirt road leads up in to the foothills of the mountains that fringe the Shomali plain.  Follow the road for about 20 minutes. As you climb, you will come across a sharp hairpin bend, shortly afterwards, as you continue along the road you will come up over the brow of the small hill you are climbing. Bear left at the intersection here and you will then descend in to a valley with a beautiful river at the bottom. On the other side of the river is Istalif.