Khyber ( ) is an agency in the FATA region of Pakistan.
Khyber has an area of 2,576 km² and a population, according to the
1998 census, of 546,730. It is subdivided into 3 administrative units:
Bara, Jamrud and Landi Kotal.
The main crops
The total length of paved roads are 335.52 km while unpaved roads
are 372.16 km.
Jamrud-Torkham road (41 km)
connecting Pakistan and Afghanistan border at Torkham (N-5 at the charge of National Highway
Landi Kotal-Mullagori road 64
kilometers connecting Peshawar with
Kotal-Torkham as alternate
roads 19.75 km connecting National Highway at Jamrud with Bara
Tehsil and onward Peshawar, Kohat, Dera Ismail
Khan road via Mattani.
Bara Tehsil Dogra Fort Salop 13 km connecting Peshawar with Bara
and onward Tirah
road connecting Orakzai
with Khyber Agency from Spin Qabar...
completed... 6 km (Under construction 15 km including
There are also two important dirt tracks leading into Tirah up to
Mustak, and Bazaar Zakha Khel up to Alwai. These are planned to be
paved and constructed up to the end of Tirah to the border of
Civil hospitals and dispensaries
- Basic Health Units: 12
- Dispensaries: 14
- Hospital/dispensary beds: 180
- Number of villages electrified: 572
- Grid Stations. Landi Kotal: 132 kV·A.
- Bara: 132 kVA.
- Jamrud at Industrial-Estate 132 kV·A.
Flora and fauna
Pass are rocky, bare, precipitous and irregular.
Due to the abuse of vegetational cover in this track only shrubs
and bushes remain which, however, yield considerable firewood and
pasture. In Tirah, patches of suitable forest exist containing
ulmanza or cedrus deodarus or deodar, syrup or abies webbiana,
prosopis, kao, zizypus, gurgurra, nakhtar blue pine or pinus
excelsea, sanatha, oak, kail, fir, spruce, chalghoza or edible
pine, walnuts, phulai, chestnut, olea cuspidata and dodonea
viscosa. Fruit plants include apple, pear, apricot, pomegranates,
grapes, mulberry, and walnuts grown in Tirah. The fauna available
in Khyber Agency is mostly in Tirah valley. Mountain sheep, black
bear, leopard, jackals, hyena, fox, wolf, monkey, etc are found
from place to place.
As with many passes, the start and finish are ill-defined.
definitions state that the Khyber Pass starts from near Jamrud, Pakistan ( m - ft), 15 km west
of Peshawar and ends west of Torkham,
Afghanistan, a winding road of 48 km. The summit is at
Kotal at The immediate terrain in the area of the
Pass is mostly rugged, barren, and arid.
hills today are completely denuded due to the arid climate and
deforestation. The poet Hafeez Jalandhri says "neither the grass
hither nor the flowers bloom. But even the skies bow down to kiss
this highland plume." And James W. Spain observed, "history hangs
heavy on the Khyber and has left its mark upon its sombre stone.
Ground into dust of the Pass is Persian gold, Greek iron, Tartar
leather, Moghul gems, and Afghan silver and British steel. All have
watered it with their blood." Interspersed among these dry and
parched hills are narrow and shallow ravine and valleys inhabited
by the local population, some living there from time immemorial and
most subject to seasonal migrations to the more temperate plains in
the unforgiving winter. These valleys are irrigated by scant,
intermittent rains and snowfall, and cultivated for food and
On the northwest of the Khyber lies the larger and more fertile
, the original home of all
the Afridi tribes. Cut off from the rest of the civilized world by
any road, railway or air link, and without any vestige of modern
civilization, it is a sort of no man's land ruled (or misruled) by
the indigenous people themselves under the age-less law called
(the Pakhtoon code of
conduct), effected by it or a Jirga
involving the tribal elders as the judges as well as executioners
of their rulings.
This vast, and at places extensively cultivated area, bounded by
pockets of alpine forests, utterly lacks any internal communication
system either. At best it is criss-crossed by mule tracks, and pack
animals are used for the transport of goods from place to place,
and long and tedious journeys are trusted to the power and
perseverance of human feet and their supporting muscles. The
indigenous people lead the most primitive life under pathetic
poverty, inhuman ignorance and biblical simplicity. They live in
strong and well-fortified mud-houses, built at respectable
distances from each other, with high towers to defend themselves
not only from the vagaries of nature and ferocity of wild life, but
also the treachery of the 'tarboor' (cousin). The whole tribal set
up suffers from a centuries-old tradition of internecine feuds, in
which the cousin is usually the worst enemy. An oft-quoted proverb
says: "Even if your cousin is your right hand, chop it off."
The valley has thick alpine forestation on the higher reaches and
fertile plains in the laps of hills irrigated by natural springs or
seasonal floods or the Bara River, which is a perennial source of
irrigation in its delta. With the passage of time, the pressure of
population gradually increases there and together with the economic
significance of timber trade, they pose a serious threat to the
remaining, meagre forestation there. However, due to sheer physical
hardships, the valley is still thinly populated, also necessitating
seasonal migrations to the warmer and more fertile Peshawar plains.
Back at home also they depend for supply of articles of daily
necessity mainly on Peshawar, which they carry on their mules, all
the way through the rugged hills. Their economy depends upon
agriculture, timber trade, livestock and dry fruit. They grow their
own food and vegetables but for tea, sugar and cloth etc., they
depend on external supply. The people of the valley have also
recently taken to transport and business in both Pakistan and
Topography and boundaries
country of the Afridis west and south of Peshawar lies between north latitude, 33° 32' and
34° 51' and between east longitude, 70° 37' and
It is contained in the fork formed by the
(white mountain) range at
Mithughar Peak in longitude 70° 37'. The north prong of
this fork runs eastward for nearly 60 miles (100 km) and falls into
the Peshawar valley around Jamrud and Khajuri areas, having thrown
out the spurs that contain and divide the Bazaar, Khyber, and
Shalman valleys and runs south, then east forming the water parting
between Peshawar and Kohat valley and connecting the Kohat Pass
with Adam Khel territory, which runs down through Khattak tribe
country to the Indus
River opposite Attock.
Its boundaries are more
precisely defined as follows:
Northern and western boundaries
A line starting from the Mithughar peak of the Safed Koh
, and running due east to the Laka Sar
Peak (Tatara) of the Khyber following the crest of the main range,
and passing through the following points, viz. Thabai Pass, Bazaar
Pass and the village of Lalabeg, where the line crosses the Khyber.
Lakasar, the boundary follows the watershed between the Khyber and
the valleys which drain into the Kabul River, running over the
Sapuri Kandao the Mautanai Shahid and Badpukht Hills down to near
Ghundai on the western frontier of the Peshawar district.
From there the boundary with
Afghan territory begins. From near Ghundai southward to Jamrud and
Bara Forts the boundary continues to the Kohat Pass, where it again
turns eastward and follows the northern foot of the Khattak range
of hills as far as the police post of Shamshatu. From Shamshatu,
the boundary again turns south and crosses the Khattak range over
the Jalala Sar Pa crosses the Musadara Valley at Takhtakai and then
over the Hindki Sar peak and onward to the Kohat-Khushalgarh road
close to Gumbat.
Southern and western boundaries
Starting from the same point on the Mitughar, the southern and
western boundary runs first due south, along the crest of the ridge
bounding Tirah on the west via the Torghar Kharaghar, Kahughar
peaks, to the Ublan Pass. At the latter point it turns eastward,
and still skirting Tirah, follows the crest of the ridge separating
Tirah and Waran from the Orakzai valley. Crossing the lower end of
the Waran valley the boundary ascends to the Uchpal Pass, where it
follows the ridge separating the two branches of the Bara up to the
junction of the latter whence it runs via the Ranja Ghar to the
Kohat Kotal, about north of Kohat. Again turning eastward it
follows the general line of the Kohat-Khushalgarh road to the
above-mentioned point near Gumbat. The territory of the Afridis
thus consists of some 3,200 square miles (80 miles length and
breadth) of elevated hilly country, sloping eastward and drained by
the Bara, Bazaar, and Dara and Khyber rivers into the Peshawar
Valley. The valleys lying around the sources of both branches of
the Bara River and the source of Khanki, flowing into the Kohat
district, and the source of Kharmana, flowing into Kurum, are
included in the general name of Tirah, a tract composing an area of
from 800 to , with an elevation of 5000 to above sea level. Tirah
includes the Bara valley above Tora Waila, the south Bara valley
above Hisar, the Khanki valley above Sadarai and the Kharmana
valley above Khazina. It is the summer resort of the greater
portion of both the Afridis and Orakzai and it contains the
following well-known places:
- 1. Maidan and Rajgal at the head of the north branch of the
- 2. The valleys of Mastura, Bezoti and Waran at the head of the
south branch of the Bara
- 3. The Kahu Dara and Minjan Dara at the head of the Khanki
- 4. The Ganda, Lozaka, Landai, Ghundai and Thabidaras at the
head of the Khurmana.
Summer seats of the Afridis are at Maidan and Raj Gal. Maidan is a
circular valley or basin, some in diameter. It is rounded by wooded
mountains rising to and . The southwestern side of the Maidan
valley is parted from the Kharmana by the Karagh or Kahu Ghar spur
of the Safed Koh
. A pass over this spur
(the Lozaka Pass) leads with a foot road into the Kurram valley.
The pine forests of Maidan cease where the slope from the mountains
subside as they converge to the centre; there is a perennial spring
at Bagh and a garden and a mosque used for the meetings of the
Jirga in the very middle of the valley. The central portion is
drained by three or four large watercourses which unite at the
Malikdin Khel settlements and, under the name of the Shalobar Toi,
flow for through the Kharapa Tangi, a narrow, rocky gorge commanded
by heights rising to on either side, and then for 2 or through open
country until joined by the Rajgal stream at Dwa Toi, after which
the water is known as the Bara river.Of the above-mentioned
effluent, the Sherdara from the coast runs through the Zakha Khel
country. The Manaka Dara and Kashu Dara from the south water the
lands of the Qambar Khel and of a few Kala Khel families, whilst
the Malikdin Khel are located on the Shalobar. During the greater
part of the year water is plentiful in Maidan; but like all other
streams in these hills, it is apt to disappear and not come to the
surface until reaching lower elevations.
The banks of the streams are said to be honeycombed with cave
dwellings. There are numerous stone towers, but no large or walled
villages. The houses are three storied with a lapelled parapet. On
the ground floor are cattle, on the top the dwelling place, and the
center is barren. Rajgal is drained by a stream rising near the
Mitu Pass, which receives water from tributaries in Rajgal. The
length of the valley is and the widest breadth of the open country
is from 4 to ; the elevation at that point being probably over .
This level area is cultivated, with the chief crops being wheat and
barley. In the north of the valley stands the main northern and
western mountains, falling to 9,000 at their eastern end.
The above outlines the boundary between the Afridis and the
Sangukhel and Mirjan Khel Shinwaris. On the south, Rajgal is
separated from Maidan by a steep, rocky, but well-wooded spur, some
On November 5th 2009
ISLAMIST militants blew up a girls' school in Pakistan's Khyber
district "Militants used 25 to 30 kilograms (55 to 66 pounds) of
explosives to blow up the two-storey school on the outskirts of
Bara town," local administration official Farooq Khan told AFP.Mr
Khan said the school had 26 rooms in all, including a science
laboratory, adding that the explosion completely destroyed eight
Another senior administration official Shafeer Ullah confirmed the
The new attack came four days after twin bombs ripped through an
18-room government high school for girls at Kari Gar village in
Khyber wounding four people in neighbouring homes.
high, called Michni.
Two rivers flow in the heart of Khyber Agency: one is Bara and the
other is Chora. The river Kabul flows between the area of Shalmanis
and Mullagoris and separates the Khyber Agency from Mohmand
The junction of Rujgal and Maidan river at Dawatoai becomes Bara
River. Bara River has been dammed down at Saipra. The name Saipra
dam is after Saipra.Saipara dam is the most scenic and
entertainment place of afridis tribe.The Bara valley attains an
elevation of at Dwa Toi, which sinks to at Khajorai. The Surghar
range, the elevation of which is from 6,000 to , separates the Bara
from the Bazaar or Chora valley whilst the Torghar, an equally
lofty range, separates it on the south from the Aka Khel and
Orakzai country joined by the Khyber stream. The Bara River
eventually falls into the Kabul opposite Nisatta, after passing
within of Peshawar.
The Chora River flows with an easterly and northeasterly course
north of the Surghar range eventually debauching on the Peshawar
plain and joining the Khyber stream south of Mathra Thana.The
Bazaar valley is scantily supplied with water except at Cheena,
where there is said to be an abundance of water all the year round.
The other Bazaar villages depend chiefly on rainwater caught in
ponds and fallows.
The known mountains and peaks are Lakasar, Naraighar, Takhtakai,
Torghar, Ganjai Murgha, Rotaz, Luzaka, Sandapal, Soor Ghar and
Malai Ghar. The peaks mentioned have heights ranging from 6,000 to
10,000 feet (1,800 to 3,000 m).
- Population (FATA, 1998) - fata.gov.pk