National Geographic : 1977 Jan
Deadly weapon in hand, a Pathan tribesman test-fires a copy of a British Sten gun in Darra, firearm center of Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province. Guns still decree justice in the tribal area, where clansmen prize their independence. An Eye for an Eye: Pakistan's Wild Frontier By MIKE W. EDWARDS Photographs by J. BRUCE BAUMANN BOTH NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC STAFF A FEW MINUTES before eight on a May morning, the South Waziristan Scouts loaded up: fifty riflemen in slate-gray uni forms, machine guns mounted over the cabs of two trucks. With our van between, the little convoy pulled out of the old British fort at Jandola and turned west on the asphalt ribbon that penetrates the tribal area. Our escort into this infrequently visited part of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province backed up the govern ment's hope that the trip would be uneventful. A mountainous belt 20 to 80 miles wide along a 350-mile border with Afghanistan, the tribal area is a stronghold of the Pathans, those wily and warlike tribesmen who, in a thousand skir mishes and ambuscades, earned grudging ad miration from the British as the best guerrilla fighters in Asia. That was in the days of the British Empire-until 1947, when independent Pakistan and India were born. Some of the old spirit remains; there had lately been two armed fights along the road we took from Jandola.