Location and Area
The North Waziristan Agency borders in the north with Kurram Agency and Kohat, in the east with Kohat and Bannu, in the south with the South Waziristan Agency and in the west with Afghanistan. The agency is the second largest in FATA, with an area of 4,707 square kilometers.
North Waziristan is a hilly area with deep and rugged valleys. The average height of the Waziristan hills is about 1,500 to 2,500 meters above sea level. The mountains do not belong to regular mountain alignments, and the hills appear to run zig-zag in every direction and are geographically apart from the larger Koh-e-Sufaid mountain range in the north and the Sulaiman Range in the south. The Waziristan hills were subject to volcanic eruptions in the past. The highly mineralized zone of Razmak is connected with these hills.
The main valleys include: Kaitu, Tochi, Kurram and Khaisora. The main plains are: Dandi, Sheratala and Dana kiwi. The Tochi River, also called Gambila River, is the main source of surface water and runs through the most fertile area of Tochi Valley. Other streams include; Khaisora, Kaitu and Kurram.
The Agency is cold in winters, with snowfall in certain places and is mild hot in summers. The Agency Headquarters at Miranshah appear to receive around 10 to 13 inches of rain annually.
Land use data from 2007-08 shows that 4% of the total geographic area of North Waziristan is cultivated, while more than 96% of the land is not arable. This puts intense pressure on the available agricultural land and creates food insecurity in the agency. About 2% of the farmland is under irrigation, with the remaining cultivated area relying entirely on rainfall.
A vast area of NWA is inaccessible even today and people cover large distances on foot. A total of 731 km road is laid in the agency, of which 512 km is paved road and 219 km is shingled roads. Apart from the two main roads, most of the roads/bridges were constructed in pre-partition times and are in deplorable conditions.