North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, on the Afghanistan border. An extremely arid and mountainous region, it is divided into N Waziristan, inhabited by farming Wazir tribes, and S Waziristan, populated by seminomad Mahsuds. The two tribes, both of Pathan descent, have constant blood feuds and supplement their meager incomes by brigandage. They live in fortresslike mountain villages. A major source of income derives from the smuggling and processing of illicit drugs. Fertile valleys in parts of N Waziristan support wheat, corn, barley, and millet; livestock are also raised. In S Waziristan the hills are used for grazing, and forests on the higher slopes provide timber.
Waziristan (Pashto: "land of the Wazir") is a mountainous region of northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering some 11,585 km˛ (4,473 mi˛). It is part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, considered to be outside the country's four provinces.
Waziristan comprises the area west and southwest of Peshawar between the Tochi River to the north and the Gomal River to the south. The North-West Frontier Province lies immediately to the east. The region was an independent tribal territory until 1893, remaining outside British-ruled empire and Afghanistan. Tribal raiding into British-ruled territory was a constant problem for the British, eliciting frequent punitive expeditions between 1860 and 1945. The region became part of Pakistan in 1947.
For administrative purposes, Waziristan is divided into two "agencies", North Waziristan and South Waziristan, with estimated populations (as of 1998) of 361,246 and 429,841 respectively. The two parts have quite distinct characteristics, though both tribes are subgroups of the Wazir Tribe and speak a common Wazirwola language. They have a formidable reputation as warriors and are known for their frequent blood feuds.
The Wazir tribes are divided into sub-tribes governed by male village elders who meet in a tribal jirga. Socially and religiously, Waziristan is an extremely conservative area. Women are carefully guarded, and every household must be headed by a male figure. Tribal cohesiveness is also kept strong by means of the so-called Collective Responsibility Acts in the Frontier Crimes Regulation.
Taliban presence in the area has been an issue of international concern in the War on Terrorism particularly since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.