Kurram Agency

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Map of Kurram agency

Kurram or Karam (Urdu: کرم) tribal agency is in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) area of Pakistan. Until the year 2000, when divisions were abolished, Kurram District used to be part of the Peshawar Division of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

The Kurram River drains the southern flanks of the Safed Koh mountain range, and enters the Indus plains north of Bannu. It crosses the 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 census was 448,310. It lies between the Miranzai Valley and the Afghan border, and is inhabited by the Pashtun Turis, a tribe of Turki and Pathan origin 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.

It is highly irrigated, well peopled, and crowded with small fortified villages, orchards and groves, to which a fine background is afforded by the dark pine forests and alpine snows of the Safed Koh. The beauty and climate of the valley attracted some of the Mogul emperors of Delhi, and the remains exist of a garden planted by Shah Jahan.

The Kurram River crosses the Afghan-Pakistan border about 80 km southwest of Jalalabad and in ancient times offered the most direct route to Kabul and Gardez, but the route crossed the Peiwar Pass 3,439 m (11,283 ft) high, just over 20 km west of Parachinar, which was blocked by snow for several months of the year.