Rivers and lakes. The division into two, which is given for A., does not apply to the rivers. They are for the most part rivers belonging to areas without drainage. Even the streams, which have their feeding grounds in the eternal snow, are not yet able to force their way through the arid regions to the sea. Both the Heri Rud and the Murgab dry up in the sands of western Turkestan, and the Oxus, which forms the border with Russia and receives many left tributaries from the Hindu Kush, reaches no further than Lake Aral. The Hilmend, called Etymander by the ancients, is the largest river of A. and largely belongs to the plateau. It rises on the Koeh-i-Baba, has the character of a mountain river in its upper reaches, and receives tributaries on the right as well as especially on the left, through which it drains the water from most of A. After taking up the Argendab, the main left tributary west of Kandahar, it flows around the desert Registan, the thirstiest part of all Afghanistan, and after a loop of 1120 it reaches KM the Hamoen-i-Helmand. This is a large salt marsh, covering an area of 500 KM2 and located just on the border of A., Persia and Baluchistan. It is a very low place, only 500 m high, which connects to the Hamoen-i-Sarwaran, and Hamoen-i-Farah, two nearby salt marshes. Also to the south-west of Kabul is a similar, albeit smaller, salt marsh, indicated on most maps as Lake Nawar. In the spring there is only a little water here, in the summer and autumn it is completely dry. The only real lake in Afg. is the Ab-i-Istada, south of Lake Nawar. It is only twelve feet deep, and so salty that fish brought into it sickened and died. However, it always has water, so the area has quite good pastures, even in the summer months, which is an exception in A. — The chief river is Kabul, only 300 miles long, the only river whose waters reach the ocean. She is important because the great body of water which it carries from the eternal snow of the Hindu Kush to the Indus makes this river navigable. She herself is navigable up to eighty miles above the mouth. See aceinland for Afghanistan Recent History.