Pyanj river, also written as Panj or Panzh, is one of the most significant rivers in Central Asia and a tributary of the Amu Darya. It is a glacial river, silty and opaque, originating from the Pamir mountain range and formed by the confluence of the Wakhan and Pamir rivers, near the Chinese border by the village of Qila-e Panja. From there, it flows westwards, forming the natural border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
After passing the city of Khorog, capital of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan, it receives water also from one of its main tributaries, the Bartang River. It then turns towards the southwest, before joining the river Vakhsh and forming the greatest river of Central Asia, the Amu Darya.
The Panj river is 921 km long and has a basin area of 114 000 square km. There are many bridges across the river between Tajikistan and Afghanistan like at Khorog, Ishkashem, and Langar in GBAO, Nizhni Pyanj, Tem and the new “Friendship Bridge” at Darwaz in the very west part of Tajikistan. Today, some parts still have mines remaining from Soviet times, which are mostly marked. It is still best to only travel near the river accompanied by a local guide.