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Location of North and South Waziristan (green) inside Pakistan (white)

Waziristan (Pashto and Urdu: وزیرستان, "land of the Wazir") is a mountainous region of northwest Pakistanmarker, bordering Afghanistanmarker and covering some 11,585 km² (4,473 sq mi). It is part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areasmarker, considered to be outside the country's four provinces.

Waziristan comprises the area west and southwest of Peshawarmarker between the Tochi River to the north and the Gomal River to the south. The North-West Frontier Provincemarker lies immediately to the east. The region was an independent tribal territory until 1893, remaining outside the British Empire. Tribal raiding into British-ruled territory was a constant problem for the British, eliciting frequent punitive expeditions between 1860 and 1945. The region became part of Pakistan in 1947.

For administrative purposes, Waziristan is divided into two "agencies", North Waziristan and South Waziristan, with estimated populations (as of 1998) of 361,246 and 429,841 respectively. The two parts have quite distinct characteristics, though both tribes are subgroups of the Wazir Tribe and speak a common Wazirwola language. They have a formidable reputation as warriors. and are known for their frequent blood feuds .

The Wazir tribes are divided into sub-tribes governed by male village elders who meet in a tribal jirga. Socially and religiously, Waziristan is an extremely conservative area. Women are carefully guarded, and every household must be headed by a male figure. Tribal cohesiveness is also kept strong by means of the so-called Collective Responsibility Acts in the Frontier Crimes Regulation.

Taliban presence in the area has been an issue of international concern in the War on Terrorism particularly since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.

North Waziristan

North Waziristan's District capital is Miran Shahmarker a.k.a Miramshah (or Mirumshah in the local dialect).

The area is mostly inhabited by the Darwesh Khel (better known as Utmanzai Waziris, who are related to Ahmedzai Waziris of South Waziristan), a sub clan of the Wazir tribe (from which the region derives its name), who live in fortified mountain villages, including Razmak, Datta Khel, Spin wam, Dosali, Shawal and the Dawars (also known as Daurr or Daur), who farm in the valleys below in villages including Miranshah, Darpa Khel, Amzoni, Ali Khel, Mirali, Edak, Hurmaz, Hassu Khel, Ziraki, Tapi, Issori, Haider Khel, Khaddi and Arabkot.

North Waziristan shares an open border with Khost, a province of Afghanistanmarker.

South Waziristan

The South Waziristan's Agency has its district headquarters at Wanamarker.

South Waziristan, comprising about , is the most volatile agency of Pakistan. Not under the direct administration of the government of Pakistan, South Waziristan is indirectly governed by a political agent, who has been either an outsider or a Waziri—a system inherited from the British Raj.

In south Waziristan Agency, there are three tribes, Wazir, Mahsud and Burki.


Waziristan Revolt (1919–1920)

In the rugged and remote region of Waziristan on Britishmarker India's northwest border with Afghanistanmarker, mountain tribes of Muslim fighters gave the British Indian Army a difficult time in numerous operations from 1860 onwards. The Northwest Frontier is now part of Pakistanmarker, which is fighting its own war against Waziri tribesmen in the early 21st century.

The Waziristan Revolt of 1919–1920 was sparked by the Afghan invasion of British India in 1919. Though the British quickly defeated the Afghans, the Waziri and Mahsud tribesmen gave the imperial (almost entirely Indian) forces a very difficult fight. Some of the tribesmen were veterans of the British-organised local militias that were irregular elements of the Indian Army (Pakistan did not exist at this time), and used some modern Lee-Enfield rifles against the Indian forces sent into Waziristan. One aspect of this conflict was the effective use of air power against the Waziris and Mahsuds. This is similar to Royal Air Force tactics in suppressing the Arab Revolt in Iraqmarker in 1920 and 1921.

Taliban presence and the War on Terror

Traditionally, local Waziri religious leaders have enlisted outsiders in their feuds, though it's not always that way, as local Waziris claim they are against the foreign militant presence there. In the early stage of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, when the Taliban started fleeing into Pakistan the local leaders or Maliks began a campaign among their locals to oust the foreigners. Since then, around 200 noble Maliks have been assassinated by local Taliban through targeted killings.

On June 4, 2007, the National Security Council of Pakistan met to decide the fate of Waziristan and take up a number of political and administrative issues in order to control the "Talibanization" of the area. The meeting was chaired by President Pervez Musharraf and attended by the Chief Ministers and Governors of all 4 provinces. They discussed the deteriorating law and order situation and the threat posed to state security.

The government decided to take a number of actions to stop the "Talibanization" and to crush the armed militancy in the Tribal regions and the NWFP.

The NSC of Pakistan has decided the following actions will be taken to achieve the goals:
  • Deployment of unmanned reconnaissance planes
  • Strengthening law-enforcement agencies with advanced equipment
  • Deployment of more troops to the region
  • Operations against militants on a fast-track basis
  • Focused operations against militant commanders
  • Action against madrassahs preaching militancy
  • Appointment of regional coordinators
  • Fresh Recruitments of police officers in NWFP

The ministry of interior has played a large part in the information gathering for the operations against the militants and their institutions. The Ministry of the Interior has prepared a list of militant commanders operating in the region and they have also prepared a list of seminaries for monitoring.

The Government is also trying to strengthen law enforcement in the area by providing the NWFP Police with weapons, bullet-proof jackets, and night-vision devices. The paramilitary Frontier Corps is to be provided with artillery and APCs. The state agencies are also studying ways to jam illegal FM radio channels.

In December 2008, the Pakistan Army 14th Infantry Division, which was based in and operating in Waziristan, was moved and redeployed to the Indian border amidst rising tensions between the two countries in the aftermath of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The CIA has described Waziristan as "the most dangerous place on earth".[59694]

See also


Operations in Waziristan 1919-1920, Compiled by the General Staff, Army Headquarters, India, 1923 (Reprinted by Naval & Military Press and Imperial War Museum ISBN 1843427737)

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