Richard Melson

November 2006

Pakistan Waziristan


North Waziristan's District headquarter is Miran Shah.

South Waziristan's District Headquarters is Wana.

Waziristan is a mountainous region of northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering some 11 585 km˛ (4,473 mi˛). It comprises the area west and southwest of Peshawar between the Tochi River to the north and the Gomal River to the south, forming part of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The North-West Frontier Province lies immediately to the east. The region was an independent tribal territory from 1893, remaining outside of British-ruled empire and Afghanistan. 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.

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 Waziris and speak a common Waziri language. They have a formidable reputation as warriors and are known for their frequent blood feuds. Traditionally, feuding local Waziri religious leaders have enlisted outsiders in the Pakistani government, and U.S. forces hunting al-Qaeda fugitives, in attempts at score-settling. The 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 so strong through so-called Collective Responsibility Acts in the Frontier Crimes Regulation.

North Waziristan

North Waziristan's District headquarter is Miran Shah.

The area is mostly inhabited by the Darwesh Khel, a sub clan of Wazir tribe (from which the region derives its name), who live in fortified mountain villages, and the Dawars (also known as Daurr or Daur), who farm in the valleys below. Geographically, Wazir live in the mountainous region of the area while Dawar live in the plains. Razmak, Datta Khel, Spin wam, Dosali, and Shawal are the places where wazir are living; Miranshah, Darpa Khel, Amzoni, Ali Khel, Mirali, Edak, Hurmaz, Hassu Khel, Ziraki, Tapi, Issori and Haider Khel are the villages where Dawar are Living. North Waziristan shares open border with Khost (Formally Paktia), province of Afghanistan.

South Waziristan

South Waziristan's District Headquarters is Wana.

The south is also predominantly inhabited by the Wazir tribes. Another major tribe is Mahsud, who live in tent villages and graze their characteristic fat-tailed sheep, which are white with black faces. The South Waziristan Agency has its district headquarters at Wana. South Waziristan, which comprises about 6,500 square kilometers, is the most volatile agency of Pakistan; it is not under the direct administration of the government of Pakistan, but is indirectly governed by a political agent, sometimes an outsider, sometimes a Waziri— a system that was inherited from the British Raj.

External links

See also