Khyber Pass

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Pakistani pass into Afghanistan.

The Khyber Pass begins about 10 miles outside the Pakistani city of Peshawar in the northwest frontier province and ends on the Afghan border at Torkham. Because it is the main connection between Afghanistan and the Indian subcontinent, the route through the Khyber Pass constitutes one of the major means of access to Central Asia. The pass, which narrows at one point to 200 yards, reaches an altitude of 3,500 feet. The pass is situated in the Afridi tribal areas, where the government has little authority; as a result, kidnapping and smuggling are common occurrences along the route. The British built a narrow-gauge railroad that passes from Peshawar to Torkham.

After 1980 the pass became a major route for refugees leaving, or later returning to, Afghanistan, and for guerrilla fighters entering Afghanistan. Pakistan has periodically closed the border crossing at the Afghan side of the pass in an attempt to control the movement of unwanted refugees.


Adamec, Ludwig. Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan, 2d edition. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 1997.

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Khyber Pass Mountain pass in the Safid Kuh range, on the frontier between Afghanistan and Pakistan, linking the Kabul valley in Afghanistan (w) with Peshawar in Pakistan (e). Height: 1073m (3520ft). Length: 50km (30mi).

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Khyber Pass a mountain pass in the Hindu Kush, on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The pass was for long of great commercial and strategic importance, the route by which successive invaders entered India, and was garrisoned by the British intermittently between 1839 and 1947.

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