The "STAR OF ASIA" -- remote, mysterious, ancient, -- land-bound by those fabulous countries of the Middle and Far East -- such is the Kingdom of Afghanistan.
In its northern parts rise slopes bedecked with a scattering of pines, and snow-crested ranges rising to the modest height of California's Mt. Whitney and on upwards to 16,000 feet. But beyond and above these are even mightier masses, crowned with glistening glaciers, eternally profiled against a blue sky and fleecy white clouds at elevations up to 25,000 feet. And these are the Hindu Kush, -- branch of the Himalayas, backbone of the Asiatic continent.
On the southern slopes of these mountains are numerous streams fed by the melting snows. These give rise to the Helmand River, or Rud, which along its southwesterly course of some 500 miles to the Afghan-Iranian border, drains a tremendous region of barren, rocky mountains, desert valleys and slopes. It is a land similar to our Arizona. Here, during a brief rainy season of late winter and early spring, scattered light precipitation accompanied in places by downpours of cloudburst proportions very often send torrential floods down the network of dry washes, or arroyos as we term them in Arizona, into the Helmand River. What water is not used for irrigation purposes finds its way into the Hamun-i-Helmand, a delta region of lakes, marshes, and overflow lands comparable to our Tulare Lake basin in the San Joaquin Valley of California. This unreclaimed area, which has no drainage outlet and is at 1,500 to 2,000 feet elevation, extends on both sides of the boundary between Afghanistan and Iran.
It is in this Helmand Valley that reclamation works have already been completed and plans have been made for their . . .