What the heck is this?

Inspired by something I saw somewhere on the Internet (MSNBC maybe?) I went searching for weird things on Google maps and stumbled across this. To put this in perspective, it is just east of Kabul, Afghanistan and is nearly a kilometer long sitting right next to what looks (at least from space) to be an abandoned residential neighborhood. To really put it in perspective, it’s so big you don’t have to zoom in very far to notice it. In fact, I’ve included a second picture to give you an idea. Any soldiers out there who have served in the area and know what it is (assuming it’s not classified)?

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7 Responses to “What the heck is this?”

  1. physicsandcake Says:

    How very strange! Maybe some kind of water or waste processing plant…?

  2. quantummoxie Says:

    I don’t think so. If you zoom in as far as possible (which is much farther than the picture above), the “spoked wheel” thing looks like a building and there’s not the usual machinery that I tend to associate with a waste or water treatment plant. My guess was a prison, though, if it is a prison it’s enormous.

  3. With the additional data available at Google Earth, that seems to be the Pul-e-Charkhi prison (wikipedia article available).

  4. quantummoxie Says:

    Interesting! I hadn’t thought to check Google Earth. In any case, that is one huge prison – and apparently I guessed correctly. I don’t know why, but it just gives me the creeps for some reason. It’s like something out of a Neal Stephenson novel.

  5. Actually, it’s Bentham’s Panopticon.

  6. quantummoxie Says:

    > Actually, it’s Bentham’s Panopticon.

    Interesting. That central wheel-and-spoke portion does recall Bentham’s idea.

    • Steve Buhl Says:

      That is correct. It is Pol I Charki Prison. The neighborhood surrounding it is not deserted though. I drove by there last week.

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