Kurram Agency FATA KPK Province of Pakistan. It lies between the Miranzai Valley and the Afghan border, and is inhabited by the Pashtun Turis, a tribe of Turki and Pathan origin on the western and central side who are supposed to have subjugated the Bangash Pashtun about six hundred years ago. The language of the tribe is Pashto, but unlike majority of the Pashtuns they are Shias. Eastern portion of the valley is now inhabited mostly by Sunni Pashtuns mostly Mangals, Paras and the remnants of the Bangash.
Kurram tribal agency is one of the eight agencies of FATA in Pakistan. Geographically it covers Kurram Valley which is a beautiful valley in the northwestern part of Pakistan neighboring Afghanistan.
Until the year 2000, when divisions were abolished, Kurram District used to be part of the Peshawar Division of the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. The name Kurram comes from the river Kurram which flows along the valley. The valley in the north is surrounded by White Mountains (KOH-E-SAFED) which also forms the natural border with Afghanistan.
Mountain Ranges Kurram Agency
The Kurram River drains the southern flanks of the KOH-E-SAFED mountain range, and enters the Indus plains north of Bannu. It flows west to east and crosses the PAKTIA Province Afghan-Pakistan border about 80 km southwest of Jalalabad, and joins the Indus near Isa Khel after a course of more than 320 km (200 miles). The district has an area of 3,310 km² (1,278 sq. miles); the population according to the 1998 about 500,000. The language of the tribe is Pashto. Shia and Sunni sects are inhabitants of this agency.
The principal mountain range in the agency is the Koh-e-Safaid or Spinghar with highest peak of Sikaram Sar 4,728 meters height which forms a natural boundary and water shed with Afghanistan. It remains covered with snow throughout the years. South of the Peiwar Kotal the hills of the Mandher range rise gradually till they drop the south–west corner of the plateau at Kharlachi, the point where Kurram River enters the valley. A part from the high mountains, the other important feature is the Kurram valley. The valley starts from Thall in Hangu district towards northwest upto Peiwar Kotal on Pak Afghan border. It can be divided into two parts i.e. the Lower Kurram and the Upper Kurram. The Lower Kurram extends from Thall in Hangu district to Sadda. It is narrow and hedged by low hills on either side of the Kurram River. After that the valley opens up into the Parachinar plateau which a large oval shape plain is sloping towards southeast. The Upper Kurram valley from Sadda to Peiwar Kotal is bounded by High Mountain on all side. The Kurram River enters the agency in the west near Kharlachi from Afghanistan and runs in northwest to southeast direction and leaves the agency at Thall in the southeastern corner of the agency. Several hill torrents and Nullahs join Kurram River.
Disturbance in Kurram Agency
Kurram Agency is going through a terrible time on account of peace crisis and administrative neglect. The area has been suffering from intermittent sectarian violence for years but since the current riots in the latter half of the year 2007, Kurram Agency has been torn by war as well as by the lack of care from the government and even mainstream media in the country.
‘Our place has been cut off from the rest of the country and we have been forced to live an isolated life’ said a local resident who revealed that the roads leading to and from Kurram to other parts of the province (NWFP) have been closed for transportation since November 2007. Daily life necessities have to be supplied from across the border (Afghanistan); most of the agency area being also left without electricity, the residents are practically living a ‘dark life’.
Sectarian violence Kurram Agency
Besides sectarian violence and general neglect of the Kurram Agency by the authorities, there seems to be a lack of understanding between the government and the local population. An instance of this was reported earlier this summer when a 100 member gathering (JIRGA), consisting members of both the major sects (Shia and Sunni), was arrested by the government authorities without any obvious reason; only to be released later. This kind of misunderstanding is getting in the way of peace efforts made by tribesmen and local elders to restore normal life in the area.
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.