KHYBER PASS The Khyber Pass is the main pass in the mountain range that runs along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan It has been traveled extensively for centuries Bringing Afghanistan under their influence was an important part of the “Great Game” played by the British once they became masters of India This meant turning the Khyber Pass into an important military artery through which troops and equipment could be easily moved Accordingly, the British laid an all-weather road that traversed the pass and also built a railway that connected the city of Peshawar with Landikotal, a small town on the Indian side of the pass A number of forts were constructed all along the Khyber road and railwayIt was only after the establishment of Pakistan that the Khyber became an important crossing point for commerce-mostly goods smuggled into Pakistan from Afghanistan However, military action returned to the Khyber Pass after the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union in 1979 Millions of refugees used this gateway to enter Pakistan from Afghanistan while hundreds of thousands of Afghan mujahideen used the pass to launch military operations into their country The unsettled conditions all along the pass during the Afghan war turned it into a route for the transport of drugs, mostly heroin manufactured in hundreds of crude workshops that sprang up all along the pass

Even after the withdrawal of the Soviet troops, the rise of the Taliban, and the establishment of the governments in Pakistan and Afghanistan that had the support of the United States, Khyber remained an active place for the manufacture, trade, and transport of drugs

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