Tirah Valley

The Tirah, is located in Khyber, Kurram and Orakzai agencies in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, while its smaller part straddles the border to the north lying in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. Tirah lies between the Khyber Pass and the Khanki Valley. It is inhabited by the Afridi, Orakzai and Shinwari tribes of Pashtuns. Tirah comprises an area of some six to seven hundred square miles and includes under this general name all the valleys lying round the source of the Bara River. The five chief valleys are Maidan, Rajgul, Waran, Bara and Mastura. Maidan, the summer home of the Afridis, lies close under the snow-bound ridges of the Safed Koh at an elevation of about 7,400 ft (2,300 m). It is an oval plain about seven to eight miles (13 km) long, and three or four wide, and slopes inwards towards the centre of its northern side, where all the drainage gathered from the four corners of the plain is shot into a narrow corkscrew outlet leading to the Bara Valley. Centuries of detritus accumulated in this basin have filled it up with rich alluvial soil and made it one of the most fertile valleys on the frontier. All its alluvial slopes are terraced and revetted and irrigated till every yard is made productive. Here and there dotted about in clusters all over the plain are square-built two storey mud and timber houses, standing in the shade of gigantic walnut and mulberry trees. Up on the hillsides surrounding the Maidan basin are wild olives in wide-grown clumps, almost amounting to forest, and occasional pomegranates.

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