The North Waziristan Agency (NWA) was declared an agency in 1910. The famous Tochi Pass in NWA serves as the main corridor to the agency. Historically, armies, people and cultures have moved in and out of the agency through this pass. The Tochi Pass connects Bannu District with the Ghazni Province of Afghanistan. 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.
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. According to the 1998 headcount, the population of North Waziristan was 0.3 million, with an annual growth rate of 2.46%. More recent estimates put the figure close to 0.6 million. (Source: National Bureau of Statistics- FATA Cell 2008-09).
North Waziristan Agency Map Showing its Geographical Location and Major Settlements