China uses these yak patrol teams to enforce claims over its disputed western borders

China is the third largest country in the world by area, with many of its most remote areas incredibly difficult for humans to reach unaided.

This is especially true along China’s western border with Pakistan. Here, China’s Xinjiang Province soars into the sky as it meets the Pamir Mountains — one of the highest mountain ranges in the world.

Faced with a lack of roads, extremely adverse terrain, and incredibly cold weather, the Chinese turned to a unique method of transportation for its soldiers along the border: Yaks.

Below are 11 pictures of China’s yak patrol team.

China's yak patrol teams are responsible for guarding the Chinese border in some of the most inhospitable land on earth.

Chinese media/PLA

The teams are responsible for securing the Pamir mountains in the far west of China.

Chinese media/PLA

The Pamirs are largely uninhabited along the border.

Chinese media/PLA

As the region lacks transportation infrastructure, yaks present the most reliable method of travel.

Chinese media/PLA

At its highest point, the Pamirs within China's border can rise to 13,000 feet above sea level.

Chinese media/PLA

Among the locations that the soldiers patrol among the Pamirs are locations known as 'Death Valley' and the 'Blood-Stained Path.'

Chinese media/PLA

Despite the remoteness of the border, the patrols are of important political significance.

Chinese media/PLA

The border was originally contested between India, Pakistan, and China. However, an agreement solidified Pakistan and China's border.

Chinese media/PLA

India does not recognise the deal, and still claims portions of the land as its own.

Chinese media/PLA

Additionally, the yak patrols play a role in enforcing Chinese security in otherwise unguarded portions of Xinjiang province.

Chinese media/PLA

The province is facing an upswing in religious and political violence from Uighur separatists.

Chinese media/PLA

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.