Location and Area
Kurram Agency takes its name from the Kurram River. It is the most scenic valley in the entire tribal belt on Durand Line. It is located in the northwest of Pakistan and more specifically in central FATA. It is bordered with Afghanistan in the north and west, Kohat in the southeast, North Waziristan in the south and Khyber and Orakzai agencies in the east. The total area of the agency is 3,380 square kilometers. See Figure 1 for the map of Khyber Agency.
Kurram agency is mostly hilly and mountainous. The Sufaid Koh Mountain forms the territorial boundary between Kurram Agency and Afghanistan. The other famous mountains are the Sur-Ghar and Spin-Ghar mountains, which used to be dense with forests, but now there is limited forest cover in these mountains. The notable valleys and streams in the agency include: Peiwar, Shalozan, Shian, Zeran, and Daradar.
The other important feature is the Kurram valley. The valley is well irrigated, highly populated, and crowded with small fortified villages, orchards and groves, with dark pine forests and alpine snows of the Sufaid Koh Range. After that the valley opens up into the Parachinar Plateau, which is a large oval shaped plain sloping towards southeast.
The main river is the Kurram River, which extends into the Khurmana and the Kirman rivers that are prone to violent flooding.
The climatic conditions in the whole agency are generally favourable during the summer; however, in winters the minimum temperature is usually below freezing point and, occasionally, can drop below -10 degrees Celsius. Parachinar is among the coldest cities in Pakistan.
Northern and western heights of the valley receive snowfalls in winters and snow can be seen even in June on peaks of the mountains. Parachinar receives about 30 inches of rainfall per annum. (Source: Bureau of Statistics 2008-09).
Land use data from the FATA Development Statistics (2011-12) shows that 8% of the total geographic area of Kurram is cultivated, while more than 91% of the land is not available for cultivation. This puts intense pressure on the available agriculture land. Some 12% of the land consists of cropped area, out of which 27% is sown for more than once per annum. The total forest cover, both manmade and natural, is 22% of the total forest area of FATA.
The major road in the agency is Thal-Parachinar road, which connects the agency headquarters with Peshawar. The same road enters into Afghanistan from Gawai. The other major road is Boarki-Road, which connects Parachinar City with the airport and then with Burgi. Likewise, Shingok Road connects the agency headquarters with Shingok via Ravzey. The total road network comprises of 904 km, out of which 577 km is black topped, while 327 Km roads are shingled.