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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Khyber Pass

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The Khyber Pass, is a mountain pass linking Pakistan and Afghanistan.The Pass was an integral part of the ancient Silk Road. Throughout history it has been an important trade route between Central Asia and South Asia and a strategic military location.

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The Khyber Pass

The summit of the Khyber Pass is 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) inside Pakistan at Landi Kotal and it cuts through the northeastern part of the Safed Koh mountains which themselves are a far southeastern extension of the Hindu Kush range.

In some versions of the Aryan migration theory, the Indo-Aryans migrated to India via the Khyber Pass. Recorded invasions through the Khyber begin with the conquests of Darius I and Alexander the Great and also include later Muslim invasions of South Asia, culminating with the establishment of the Mughul Empire from 1526. The British invaded Afghanistan from India and fought three Afghan Wars in 1839-42, 1878-80, and 1919. George Molesworth, a member of the British force of 1919, summarised: "Every stone in the Khyber has been soaked in blood." Rudyard Kipling called it "a sword cut through the mountains."

Finally, Sikhs under Ranjit Singh, in 1798 brought to an end the 800 years of foreign invasions into India through Khyber Pass, by bringing it under their control. This was the best gift the Sikhs gave to the nation which finally allowed the rest of India to breathe in peace. Hari Singh Nalwa, who manned the Khyber pass for years became a household name in Afghanistan.

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