National Geographic : 1985 Jun
Carpet merchants, Turkoman refugeesfrom Afghanistan's northparadetheir wares along the stalls of Peshawar'sQissa KhawaniBazaar, the famed "storytellersbazaar" (right). Lacking stalls of their own, the Turkomans keep moving to find their customers. Many of the Turkomans have returned to join theirfellows in the mujahidin,becoming some of the more fierce warriorsand battle-smartcommanders. Others preferto remainin Pakistan,pursuing theirskills as carpetmakers,the trade of their ancestors.At Swabi refugee camp near Mardan (below) wool is dyed anddried. Thereafter a carpetbegins to take shape on a loom (below right). Carpetmakingis afamily affair, with everybody participatingaround the horizontalloom. It can take three months to make a wool rug, a little longer for one of silk. The majority of the carpets arefor prayer, but some largerones are made for use in homes. Thousands of Turkoman refugees equal thousands of carpets-inadditionto those locally produced.The Pakistani weavers feel they are being hurt by Turkomans, who pay no taxes and no shop rents, selling their wares in the markets.