PHOTOS: The harrowing trek of the Kurdish Kulbar
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – With no other means to earn a living, Kurdish border couriers, known commonly as Kulbar, climb near-impassable roads daily while carrying goods such as tobacco, clothes, and tea to make as little as $10 a day.
Kulbar is the Kurdish term for individuals who smuggle small amounts of goods across the border (“kul” meaning “back” and “bar” meaning “carrying”).
Though illegal, it is a local practice that has long since been accepted as normal in the economically undeveloped areas in Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhilat) where many residents depend on it for their livelihoods.
Due to the nature of their practice, Kulbar have often been the target of Iranian border guards who accuse them of trespassing.
Iranian laws dictate that border guards can fire their weapon only if they believe the trespasser is armed and dangerous.
The security personnel must also observe the following procedures: first, give an oral warning; second, fire into the air; and third, if they must open fire, target the lower body. Despite this, the guards regularly shoot Kulbar.
(Photos: Rebar Mohamadpour)