Khyber Agency is one of the seven agencies in FATA region of Pakistan. FATA both historically and traditionally had a unique administrative and political status from the British times since 1849. However, in 1893, a demarcation was raised with Afghanistan called Durand Line. They controlled the area through a combination of effective Political Agents and tribal elders, while leaving the people with their traditions and internal independence. Pakistan inherited this system and more or less continues with it even today.
Khyber Agency is named after the world famous Khyber Pass, which has served as a gateway to connect the Asian sub-continent with the Central Asia through Afghanistan. The location of this pass has given the agency and its people worldwide recognition. Khyber Agency has an area of 2,576 sq kilometers. It is subdivided into 3 administrative units.

Tehsil Bara,

Tehsil Jamrud

Tehsil Landi-Kotal

Tribes in Khyber Agency

The majority of the tribes in this agency are Afridis, of which there are eight major sub-tribes. However, there are important pockets of Mallagoris (Mohmand) Shilmanis, and Shinwaries. Shinwaries live on both sides of the Pakistan Afghan border but are predominantly in Afghanistan. The Afridis are famed as the tribe that control the Khyber Pass and also as the inhabitants of what is still one of the most inaccessible areas, Afridi Tirah. This strategic situation has enabled the Afridis to force every conqueror in history passing through the Khyber to come to terms with them. They have a formidable battle record for strategy and tenacity in the mountains.

Valleys in Khyber Agency

Maidan, Rajgal, Bara, Bazaar, Choora

Khyber Pass

As with many passes, the start and finish are ill-defined. Many definitions state that the Khyber Pass starts from near Jamrud, Pakistan, 15 km west of Peshawar and ends west of Torkham, Afghanistan, a winding road of 48 km.
The immediate terrain in the area of the Khyber Pass is mostly rugged, barren, and arid. The 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 somber stone. Ground into dust of the Pass is Persian gold, Greek iron, Tartar leather, Moghul gems, and Afghan silver and British steel.


 On the northwest of the Khyber lies the larger and more fertile Tirah Valley, 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 Pakhtoonwali (the Pakhtoon code of conduct), effected by it or a Jirga system, involving the tribal elders as the judges as well as executioners of their rulings.
 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, meager 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 Afghanistan.

History of Khyber Agency

The Khyber Agency takes its name from the world famous Khyber Pass, which has throughout served as the corridor connecting the Indo-Pak sub-continent with Afghanistan and Central Asia. Khyber itself is a Hebrew word, which means place or castle. There is a fort known as ‘Khyber’ 64 km to the west of medina (Saudi Arabia). This was a stronghold of Jews in the pre-Islamic days. This same Khyber Fort was conquered by Hazrat Ali as the head of an Islamic army. Still Khyber Pass has no connection whatsoever with the Khyber Fort of Arabia. One view is that Khyber got its present name in the past because it enjoyed as strategic an importance as a fort. There is also a small village by the name of Khyber on the road from Peshawar to Landi Kotal. Khyber Pass might have received its name from the Khyber village. But usually by Khyber is meant the Khyber Pass. This pass begins a little distance ahead of Jamrud, from Shadibagiar and ends near Landi Kotal and is about 40 km long. Yet from Jamrud to Landi Khana its length is 48 Km.

First fortified by Humayun in 1552

 Jalalabad, first fortified by Humayun in 1552, was further strengthened by his son Jalal-ud-Din Akbar, after whom it was named and the latter emperor so improved the road that wheeled carriages could traverse it with ease. But even in his reign the Khyber was infested by the Roshania advocates who wielded great influence over the Afghan tribes, and the Rajput General Man Singh had to force the pass in 1586, when Akbar desired to secure possession of Kabul on the death of his brother Mirza Muhammad Hakim. In 1672, under Aurangzeb, the tribes waylaid the Subedar of Kabul, Muhammad Amin Khan, in the pass and annihilated his army of 40,000 men, capturing all his treasure, elephants, women and children.

Zakha Khels

In December 1899 once more, the British regular army was withdrawn from the Khyber and all guard duties were entrusted to the Khyber Rifles.
 For six years there was almost complete peace and order but in 1905 the Zakha Khels again started activities against the British. For some time the British could not quell them till in January 1908, Afridi tribes invaded Peshawar City. In February 1908 the British again led armies against them and their activities came to an end.
 Till 1919 there was quiet on the Khyber front, but this year, due to influence of Hijrat and Khilafat movements and the Third Afghanistan War, a storm appeared on the tribal horizon. Amir Ullah Khan launched an invasion on Thal (Kohat) Fort. This area was situated in the vicinity of Tirah. The Afridi were naturally affected by this. As the Khyber Rifles was completely composed of Afridis they refused to serve in it as a protest and a sign of non-confidence against the British. So this regiment was dissolved. Still soon an agreement was reached between Amir Ullah Khan and the British. A Durbar was held in Rawalpindi in which Amir Aman Ullah Khan was recognized as King of Afghanistan. After this pact the Khyber Rifles and Kassadars were reinstated.

Important peaks

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).

Important places

Ismail khel,Ezat Khel,Bagh in Maidan, Haider Kandao in Bar Qamber Khel, Nahqi in MDK, Tarkhokas in Bar Qamber Khel, Tora Wela and Bokar in Zakhakhel, Spin Drang in Sipah, Garhi and Saukh in Kamarkhel, Mustak in Aka Khel, Ghaibi Nika and Lakar Baba in Sipah, Shinkamar in Ziauddin Zakhakhel, and Barki in Stori Khel. Malik Nader Khan Kalay, Tidy Bazar, Nai Abadi, Ghunday, Godar hajyano kalay,sakandar khel,shamsher khel, Shah Kass and Sur Kamar.lala chena,sofed sang,lora mela,bakar abad,shagi,


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 Agency.

Bara River

 The united drainage of the Raj gal and Maidan valleys becomes the Bara River in Dwa Toi in central Tirah. The Bara valley attains an elevation of 5,000 feet at Dwa Toi, which sinks to 2,000 feet at Khajorai. The Surghar range, the elevation of which is from 6,000 to 7,000 feet, 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 2 miles of Peshawar.

Chora River 

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.

What Not to Do

Do not Photograph bridges and military installations,
Do not swim in the rivers
Do not Travel without your passport and other travel documents in the Northern Areas.
Do not Photograph local women without his permission
Do not Drive on mountain roads at night.

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