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.
Khyber Pass (kī´bər), narrow, steep-sided pass, 28 mi (45 km) long, winding through the Safed Koh Mts., on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border; highest point is 3,500 ft (1,067 m). The routes through it link the cities of Peshawar, Pakistan, and Kabul, Afghanistan. For centuries a trade and invasion route from central Asia, the Khyber Pass was one of the principal approaches of the armies of Alexander the Great, Timur, Babur, Mahmud of Ghazna, and Nadir Shah in their invasions of India. The pass was also important in the Afghan Wars fought by the British in the 19th cent. The Khyber Pass is now traversed by an asphalt road and an old caravan route. A railroad (built 1920–25), which passes through 34 tunnels and over 92 bridges and culverts, runs to the Afghan border. Pakistan controls the entire pass.