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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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 Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering some 11,585 km² (4,473 sq mi). It is part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, considered to be outside the country's four provinces.

Waziristan comprises the area west and southwest of Peshawar between the Tochi River to the north and the Gomal River to the south. The North-West Frontier Province 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,[1] 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.[2] 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 (purple) and South (blue) Waziristan and surrounding Federally Administered Tribal Areas and provinces

North Waziristan's District capital is Miran Shah 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,mussaki, Hassu Khel, Ziraki, Tapi, Issori, Haider Khel, Khaddi and Arabkot.

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

South Waziristan

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

South Waziristan, comprising about 6,500 square kilometres (2,500 sq mi), 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)

A flag used by a resistance movement in Waziristan against the British during the 1930s, with the Takbir written on it

In the rugged and remote region of Waziristan on British India's northwest border with Afghanistan, 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 Pakistan, 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 Iraq 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.[3] 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.[4]

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.

See also


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  1. ^ Lawson, Alastair (2008-04-21). "Why Britons walked warily in Waziristan". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 2008-04-21.  
  2. ^ "A powerful tribal chief has warned militants linked with al-Qaeda to leave a Pakistani border district after the death of eight members of his clan supporting peace efforts in the troubled region. Maulavi Nazir, who drove out hundreds of Uzbek fighters in a bloody battle last year, said his armed followers would attack those loyal to an al-Qaeda linchpin in South Waziristan. Mr Nazir, who represents the influential Wazir tribe, blamed Baitullah Mehsud..." (Australian News Network), Jan 8, 2008 (on-line)
  3. ^
  4. ^ Khan, Ismail (2007). "Plan ready to curb militancy in Fata, settled areas". Newsweek international edition. Retrieved 2007-06-27.  

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)

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

WAZIRISTAN, a section of the mountain tract in the North - West Frontier Province of India, lying between the Tochi river on the north and the Gomal river on the south. The whole of Waziristan lies within the British sphere of influence, the boundary with Afghanistan having been demarcated in 1894. It forms two political agencies, but only a portion, consisting of the Tochi valley, with an area of about 700 sq. m. and a population (1903) of 24,670, is directly administered. Northern Waziristan has an area of about 2310 sq. m., and southern Waziristan an area of about 2734 sq. M.

The Tochi and the Gomal rivers enclose Waziristan, their affluents rising to the west of that country in the upland valleys of Shawal and Birmal, and flowing north and south to a junction with the main streams. Between the two rivers stretches the central dominating range of Waziristan from north-east to south - west, geologically connected with the great limestone ranges of the Suliman hills to the south, and dominated by the great peaks of Shuidar (Sheikh Haidar) and Pirghal, both of them between ir,000 and 12,000 ft. above the sea, and hardly inferior to the Khaisargarh peak of the Takht-i-Suliman. From these peaks westwards a view is obtained across the grass slopes and cedar woods of Birmal and Shawal (lying thousands of feet below) to the long, serrated ridges of the central watershed which shuts off the plains of Ghazni. To the eastward several lines of drainage strike away for the Indus, breaking through parallel folds and flexures of the mountains, of which the conformation is here distinctly observable, although not so marked as it is south of the Gomal. These lines of drainage are, as usual, the main avenues of approach to the interior of the country. They are the Khaisora and the Shakdu on the north, which, uniting, join the Tochi south of Bannu, and the Tank Zam (which is also called Khaisor near its head) on the south. The two former lead from the frontier to Rasmak and Makin, villages of some local importance, situated on the slopes of Shuidar; and the latter leads to Kaniguram, the Waziri capital, and the centre of a con - siderable iron trade. Kaniguram lies at the foot of the Pirghal mountain.

Amongst the mountains of Waziristan there is much fine scenery and a delightful climate. Thick forests of ilex clothe many of the spurs, which reach down to the grassy deodar - covered uplands of Birmal on the west; and the spreading poplar attains magnificent dimensions amongst the flats and plateaus of the eastern slopes. The indigenous trade of the country is inconsiderable, although Waziri iron is much esteemed. The agricultural products are poor, and the general appearance of the priest-ridden people is significant of the endurance of many hardships, even of chronic starvation. The most notable product of the country is the Waziri breed of horses and donkeys. The latter especially deserve to rank as the best of their kind on the Indian frontier, if not in all India.

The geological formation of Waziristan is the same as that of the contiguous frontier. Recent subaqueous deposits have been disturbed by a central upheaval of limestone; the lower hills are soft in composition and easily weather-worn, the slopes are rounded, and large masses of detritus have collected in the nullah beds and raised their level. Through these deposits heavy rain-floods have forced their way with many bends and curves to the plains, enclosing within each curve a "warn" or "raghza," which slopes graduz.11y to the hills and affords the only available space for irrigation and agriculture. A "warn" is a gently sloping open space, generally raised but slightly above the river level. A "raghza" differs from a "warn" in being on a higher level and often beyond the reach of irrigation. Pasture is found abundantly in the hills, but cultivation only on the borders of the main streams. Passing up and down these main water-courses, there is an appearance of great fertility and wealth, which is entirely due to these thriving strips of verdure, their restricted and narrow limits being hardly visible from the river beds. From above, when viewed from the flanking ridges, the vast extent of hill country, neither high, nor imposing, nor difficult of access, but invariably stony and rough, compares strongly with the narrow bands of enclosed cultivation winding about like green ribbons, and marking the course of the main streams from the snowcovered peaks to the plains. The physiography of Waziristan is that of the Kurram to the north rather than that of the Suliman hills to the south.

The Waziris are the largest tribe on the frontier, but their state of civilization is very low. They are a race of robbers and murderers, and the Waziri name is execrated even by the neighbouring Mahommedan tribes.. Mahommedans from a settled district often regard Waziris as utter barbarians, and seem inclined to deny their title to belong to the faith. They have been described as being "free-born and murderous, hot - headed and light-hearted, self-respecting but vain." The poverty of their country and the effort required to gain a subsistence in it have made the Waziris a hardy and enduring race. Their physique is uncommonly good, and though on the average short of stature, some extremely tall and large men are to be found amongst them. They are generally deep-chested and compact of build, with a powerful muscular development common to the whole body, and not confined to the lower limbs as is the case with some hill tribes of the Himalayas. As mountaineers the Waziris would probably hold their own with any other Pathan tribe of the frontier.

Except in a few of the highest hills, which are well-wooded, the Waziri country is a mass of rock and stones, bearing a poor growth of grass and thinly sprinkled with dark evergreen bushes; progress in every direction except on devious paths known to the natives is obstructed by precipices or by toilsome stony ascents; and knowledge of the topography, a mere labyrinth of intricate ranges and valleys, comes only as the result of long acquaintance. Broken ground and tortuous ravines, by making crime easy and precaution against attack difficult, have fostered violence among the people and developed in them an extraordinary faculty of prudence and alertness. In con - sequence of his isolation the Waziri has become independent, self-reliant and democratic in sentiment. Through the in - accessibility of his own country to lowlanders, combined with the proximity of open and fertile tracts inhabited by races of inferior stamina, he has developed into a confirmed raider; and the passage through his country of mountain footpaths, connecting India with Afghanistan, has made him by frequent opportunity a hereditary highwayman as well. The women enjoy more freedom than amongst most Pathan tribes, and are frequently unfaithful. The ordinary punishment of adultery is to put the woman to death, and to cut off half the right foot of the man. Amongst Waziris also, as amongst other Pathans, the blood-feud is a national institution.

The Waziris, who number some 40,000 fighting men altogether, are divided into two main sections, the Darwesh Khel (30,000) and the Mahsuds (8000), with two smaller sections. The Darwesh Khel, the more settled and civilized of the two, inhabit the lower hills bordering on Kohat and Bannu districts, and the ground lying 'on both sides of the Kurram river, between Thal on the north and the Tochi Valley on the south. The Mahsuds, who inhabit the tract of country lying between the Tochi Valley on the north and the Gomal river on the south, have earned for themselves an evil name as the most confirmed raiders on the border; but they are a plucky race, as active over the hills as the Afridis, and next to them the best-armed large tribe on the frontier. The Mahsud country, especially that part within reach of British posts, is more difficult even than Tirah. To the south and east it is girt by an intricate belt of uninhabited, generally waterless hills and ravines. To the north a zone of Darwesh Khel territory, not less than 20 m. in width, hilly and difficult, separates the Mahsuds from the Tochi. The Tochi Valley is inhabited by a degraded Pathan tribe, known as Dauris, who have voluntarily placed themselves under British protection since 1895. In dealing with the Mahsuds it must be remembered that from Wana to Tank, from Tank to Bannu, and from Bannu to Datta Khel, or for a distance of over 200 m., British territory is open to Mahsud depredations. This length of frontier is equal to the whole Thal-Kohat-Pesha - war-Malakand line, covering the eight or ten tribes that took part in the frontier risings of 1897. So that the Mahsuds should really be compared with the whole of those ten tribes, and not with any single one.

British expeditions were needed against various sections of the Waziris in 1852, 1859, 1860, 1880, 1881, 1894, 1897 and 1902.

The success of Sir Robert Sandeman in subduing the wild tribes of Baluchistan had led to a similar attempt to open up Waziristan to British civilization; but the Pathan is much more democratic and much less subject to the influence of his maliks than is the Baluchi to the authority of his chiefs; and the policy finally broke down in 1894, when the Waziris made a night attack upon the camp of the British Delimitation Com - mission at Wana. The Commission had been appointed to settle the boundary with the Afghans, and the Waziris regarded it as the final threat to their independence. The attack was delivered with such determination that the tribesmen penetrated into the centre of the camp, and it was only with the greatest difficulty that friend could be distinguished from foe. A large force of I ',coo British troops subsequently traversed the tribal country, destroyed their towers and dictated terms, one of which was that the Tochi Valley should be occupied by British garrisons. But still there was trouble, which led to the Tochi expedition of 1897; and, in spite of the further lessons taught the Waziris in two expeditions in 1902, the attempt to "Sandemanise" Waziristan was given up by Lord Curzon. The British garrisons in the Tochi and Gomal valleys were withdrawn, and two corps of tribal militia, from 1300 to 150o strong, were gradually formed to replace the British troops.

See Grammar and Vocabulary of Waziri Pashto, by J. G. Lorimer (Calcutta, 1902); Paget and Mason's Frontier Expeditions (1884); Mahsud Waziri Operations (1902), Blue-book.

WAllAN, a small hillside town, 60 m. N.W. by N. of Fez, Morocco. It has a considerable trade with the country round, and manufactures a coarse white woollen cloth with rough surface from which the hooded cloaks (called jelldbs) are made. Its proudest name is Dar D'manah - House of Safety - as it is sanctuary for any who gain its limits, on account of the tomb of a sainted Idrisi Sharif, who lived there in 5727. It is the head - quarters of his descendants.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


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Proper noun




  1. A mountainous region of northern Pakistan



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