North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan

From Academic Kids

North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) is geographically the smallest of the four provinces of Pakistan. Neighbouring regions are Afghanistan to the west and north, Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir to the east. The Federally Administered Tribal Areas stand as a buffer between the NWFP and parts of Afghanistan. Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory are to the south.

Its area is 74,521 km² and its districts include Hazara, home to the town of Havelian, western starting point of the Karakoram Highway. The district of Hazara is not to be confused with the Hazara people of Afghanistan. The capital and main city of the province is Peshawar. The major language spoken in the NWFP is Pashto, and most of its residents are Pashtuns, especially in the lowlands and the southern areas of NWFP. The mountainous northern regions of the province are mostly non-Pashtun, being home to diverse ethnic groups and languages, such as Khowar, Kohistani, Shina, Torwali, and Kalami. NWFP was traditionally a part of Afghanistan, but was divided during British rule of India.

During the 1950s, Afghanistan supported a secessionist movement in the NWFP known as the Pakhtunistan movement. There are also numerous Afghan refugee camps in the NWFP, owing to its proximity to Afghanistan. Likewise, it has a major base for supplying mujahideen who fought the Soviets in Afghanistan during the 1980s.

Pashtuns within the NWFP have sought to rename the province to Pakhtunkhwa, which translates to Land of the Pakhtuns in Afghan. This has been opposed by the people of the mountainous northern regions of NWFP, who are mainly non-Pashtuns.

The Durand line is a term for the poorly marked 2,450 kilometer (1,519 mile) border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

After being defeated in two wars against Afghans, the British succeeded in 1893 in imposing the Durand line dividing Afghanistan and what was then British India (now Pakistan). Named for Sir Mortimer Durand, the foreign secretary of the Indian government, it was agreed upon by representatives of both governments. One of the two representatives of the Afghan government was the revered Ahmadi Sahibzada Abdul Latif of Khost. The border was drawn intentionally to cut through the Pashtun tribes.

Afghanistan's loya jirga of 1949 declared the Durand Line invalid.

Today, the line is often referred to as one drawn on water, symbolizing the porous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The line has come under special attention of late, as it has become notorious for allowing Taliban fighters and terrorists to freely travel back and forth, finding safety and shelter in the autonomous Pashtun regions of northwestern Pakistan.

External link

  • District map (


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