Kurram Agency takes its name from the river Kurram which passes through it. The headquarters of the agency is located at Parachinar. The agency lies between 330-20¢ to 340-03¢ north latitudes and 690-50¢ to 700-45¢ east longitudes. The Agency is bounded on the north and west by Afghanistan (the provinces of Ningarhar and Pukthia respectively), on the east by Orakzai and Khyber Agencies, on the southeast by Hangu and on the south by North Waziristan Agency. The agency is 115 kilometers long with a total area of 3.380 square kilometers.
The principal mountain range in the agency is the Koh-e-Safaid or Spinghar with highest peak of Sikaram Sar 4,728 meters height which forms a natural boundary and water shed with Afghanistan. It remains covered with snow through out the years. South of the Peiwar Kotal the hills of the Mandher range rise gradually till they drop the south–west corner of the plateau at Kharlachi, the point where Kurram River enters the valley.
A part from the high mountains, the other important feature is the Kurram valley. The valley starts from Thall in Hangu district towards northwest upto Peiwar Kotal on Pak Afghan border. It can be divided into two parts i.e. the Lower Kurram and the Upper Kurram. The Lower Kurram extends from Thall in Hangu district to Sadda. It is narrow and hedged by low hills on either side of the Kurram River. After that the valley opens up into the Parachinar plateau which is a large oval shape plain sloping towards southeast. The Upper Kurram valley from Sadda to Peiwar Kotal is bounded by high mountain on all side. The Kurram River enters the agency in the west near Kharlachi from Afghanistan and runs in northwest to southeast direction and leaves the agency at Thall in the southeastern corner of the agency. Several hill torrents and Nullahs join Kurram River.
RIVERS AND STREAMS:
The Kurram River takes its origin in the junction of a number of small streams at no great distance above Kharlachi. From Kharlachi its junction with Kirman 19 kilometers down stream, it receives no further supply except from occasional float torents from Koh-e-Safaid, though an innumberalbe series of ravines cut into the plateau. For another 26 kilometers the only contribution to the river is rain drainage from the hills, but at Sadda it receives Khurmana. Beyond village Tangi (Lower Kurram) it receives no further supply within the agency and crosses over to Thall from where it enters into North Waziristan.
DRESS AND ORNAMENTS:
People wear traditional Pakhtoon dress of Shalwar, Kamees, Turban and Chadder. The women wear Shalwar, Kamees and Chadder designed for them. In the past due to inaccessibility to the area and the poverty of people, local woolen cloths were prepared to suit the cold winters. With time and prosperity, traditions have changed and people mostly wear Swati and Direy (Dirorigion) caps instead of turbans, and fine factory cloth is used for dresses.
Most of the houses are made of clay and are clustered in villages as well as towns. A house generally consists of two or three rooms with a verandah. People usually live in joint family system. The quality and construction of the houses have improved with the prosperity brought in the people working mostly in the Middle East countries.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Parachinar is the headquarter of the agency. It is a big market for the people of surrounding area. It is also famous for timber and dry fruits.
Sadda has grown enormously during the past ten years due to the concentration of refugees in its neighborhood. It is big trade market for the people of Lower Kurram and Central Kurram.
Dogar is a big village in the Central Kurram. It is an important market for local made arms.
Political Agents as the head, the agency is divided into three sub-divisions i.e. Upper Kurram, Lower Kurram and Central Kurram each headed by an Assistant Political Agent. The former two sub-divisions have long been administrated and record exist for most of the farmed area in these two sub-divisions, although settlement has not been carried out since the 1940s Central Kurram, however, remained inaccessible terrain till today. It remains the least tractable of the three sub-divisions. Its level of development lags substantially behind that of the other two sub-divisions but efforts are being made to bring it at par with the other area. Upper and Lower Kurram, being administered areas, are controlled directly by taking cognizance of all offence which are dealt with under the Frontier Crimes Regulation, Kohat pact and customary law (Turizuna). The Administration in the Central however, is indirect, through the tribal elders.
The Kurram Valley in ancient times offered the most direct route to Kabul and Gardez. The route crossed the Peiwar Pass 3,439 m (11,283 ft) high, just over 20 km west of modern Parachinar. The Kurrum River flows through the Kurrum Valley across the Afghan-Pakistani border west to east (crossing from the Paktia Province of Afghanistan into the Kohat border region of Pakistan), about 80 km southwest of Jalalabad. The valley 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 (White Mountain). White Mountain separates Afghanistan and Pakistan. The highest point is Sikaram and is 15,000 ft high from sea level. 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. In the Rigveda, the Kurrum is mentioned as Krumu.
Developed by British in 1930 as a skiing resort, this place is called Chapari and is at height of 10,000 ft. A small rest house invite visitors in all season.
In the early 19th century the Kurram Valley was under the government of Kabul, and every five or six years a military expedition was sent to collect the revenue, the soldiers living meanwhile at free quarters on the people. It was not until about 1848 that the Turis were brought directly under the control of Kabul, when a governor was appointed, who established himself in Kurram. During the second Afghan War, when Sir Frederick Roberts advanced by way of the Kurram Valley and the Peiwar Kotal to Kabul, the Turis lent him every assistance in their power, and in consequence their independence was granted them in 1880. The administration of the Kurram Valley was finally undertaken by the British government, at the request of the Turis themselves, in 1890. Technically it ranked, not as a British district, but as an agency or administered area.
In recent years the Kurram Valley has once again assumed a very strategic position and has been an area of intense military activity between the Taliban and American and allied forces