To be found in the Suleiman Hills, Khyber Pass is one of the most famous passes in the world. The Khyber Pass is situated about 16 kilometers west of Peshawar and extends to Afghanistan border.
The Khyber Pass is a 53-kilometer (33-miles) passage through the Hindu Kush mountain range. It connects the northern leading edge of Pakistan with Afghanistan. At its narrowest point, the pass is only 3 meters wide. On the north side of the Khyber Pass rise the towering, snow-covered mountains of the Hindu Kush. The Khyber Pass is one of the most famous mountain passes in the World. It is one of the most important passes between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is the best land route between India and Pakistan and has had a long and often violent history. Conquering armies have used the Khyber as an entry point for their invasions. It was also been a major trade route for centuries.
Khyber Pass, mountain pass in western Asia, the most important pass with reference to Afghanistan and Pakistan, controlled by Pakistan. The Khyber Pass winds northwest through the Sefid Koh Range near Peshawar, Pakistan to Kabul, Afghanistan, varying in width from 3 to 137 m. The mountains on moreover side can be climbed only in a few places. The pass is walled by precipitous cliffs that vary in height from about 180 to 300 m. The pass reaches its highest elevation at the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The area of the Khyber Pass has been connected with a imitation arms industry, making various types of weapons known to gun collectors as Khyber Pass Copies, using local steel and blacksmith forges. During the current war in Afghanistan, the Khyber Pass has been a most important forward for re supplying NATO forces in the Afghan theater of conflict. Recognizing this, the Taliban attempted to choke off the route in late 2008 and early 2009, bringing the Taliban into conflict with the Pakistani government.
In February 2009, a bridge 15 miles northwest of Peshawar was blown up by militants presumably sympathetic to or sponsored by the Taliban. While it was not considered to be a major strategic blow to the allied war effort, it invigorated hard work to secure additional supply routes, some of which may ultimately run through Iran. However, the current general consensus is that the new supply route will pass through various central Asian republics to the north of Afghanistan.
The history of the Khyber Pass as a strategic doorway dates from 326 B.C., when Alexander the Great and his army marched through the Khyber to reach the plains of India. From their, he sailed down Indus River and led his army across the desert of Gedrosia. In the A.D. 900s, Persian, Mongol, and Tartar armies forced their way through the Khyber, bringing Islam to India. Centuries later, India became part of the British Empire, and British troops defended the Khyber Pass from the British Indian side. During the Afghan Wars the pass was the scene of numerous skirmishes between Anglo-Indian soldiers and native Afghans. predominantly well known is the battle of January 1842, in which about 16,000 British and Indian troops were killed. The British constructed a road through the pass in 1879 and rehabilitated it into a highway during the 1920s. A railroad was also built here in the 1920s.
The Khyber, in its plaid history, has seen countless invasions. It witnessed the march of Aryans and victorious move forwards of Persian and Greek armies. It also saw the Scythians, White Huns, Seljuks, Tartars, Mongols, Sassanians, Turks, Mughals and Durranis making successive inroads into the territories beyond Peshawar Valley and Indus. The very sight of the Khyber reminds one of the conquerors who forced their way through its dangerous defiles. It is this Pass through which the subcontinent was invaded time and again by conquerors like Timor, Babar, Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali. Again, it was through this Pass that the Russian invasion of the subcontinent was feared by the British in the 19th century. The story of Khyber Pass is composed of such colour and romance, such tragedy and glory that fact really looks stranger than fiction in this case. The Khyber Pass has been a silent witness to countless great events in the history of mankind. As one drives through the Pass at a leisurely pace, imagination unfolds pages of history.
The Aryans descending upon the fertile northern plains in 1500 BC subjugating the indigenous Dravidian population and settling down to open a glorious episode in history of civilization. The Persian hordes under Darius (6 century B.C.) crossing into the Punjab to annex yet another province to the Archaeology Empire. The armies of Alexander the Great (326 BC) marching through the rugged pass to fulfill the requirements of a young, ambitious conqueror. The terror of Genghis Khan unwrapping the majestic hills and turning back towards the trophies of ancient Persia. The White house bringing fire and destruction in their wake, the Scythian and the Parthians, the Mughals and the Afghans, conquerors all, crossing over to leave their impact and add more chapters to the diverse history of this subcontinent.
The Muslim armies first passed through in 997 AD under the command of Subuktagin and later his celebrated son, Mahmud of Ghaznawi, marched through with his army as many as seventeen times between 1001-1030 AD. Some of his campaigns were directed through the Khyber Pass. Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghaur, a renowned ruler of Ghauri dynasty, crossed the Khyber Pass in 1175 AD to consolidate the gains of the Muslims in India. He used Khyber Pass again in 1193 to measure strength with Pirthvi Raj Chouhan and shows his mettle on the field of Tarain. This battle helped Muslims carve out a Muslim Kingdom in India. In 1398 AD Amir Timur, the firebrand from Central Asia, invaded India through the Khyber Pass and his descendant Zahiruddin Babur made use of this pass first in 1505 and then in 1526 to establish a powerful Mughal empire. In 1672, it was the Khyber Pass where the Afraid under the able leadership of Ajmal Khan defeated Muhammad Amin Khan's army and besides inflicting losses, both in men and material, on the enemy; the Afraid captured about 10,000 Mughal soldiers. Nadir Shah Afshar of Iran used the Khyber Valley in 1739 AD to put together Delhi. The famous Afghan King, Ahmad Shah Abdali, crossed the Khyber Pass in 1761 AD and crushed the Marattha association on the field of Panipat (India). The Khyber Valley saw a great deal of fighting between 1839-1919. During the First Afghan War (1839-42) General Pollock used the Khyber Pass on his way to Afghanistan to retrieve the British honour. Again, in 1878, the British forces marched through the Khyber Pass to launch an offensive against the Afghans in the Second Afghan War (1878-79). In 1897 a revolt flared up on the frontier region and the valleys of Khyber started vibrating with the echoes of war.