Darra Adam Khel
A memorable town created some 150 years ago near the border with Afghanistan, Darra's
attraction lies in its frontier atmosphere. Under a deal struck with the British colonial rulers, local residents were allowed
to manufacture weaponry at Darra in exchange for guarding the Khyber Pass railway. Subsequent Pakistani governments have had
no jurisdiction in the area, so the trade in arms flourishes. A stroll down the town's only street is unforgettable: Shopkeepers
shoot bursts of automatic fire into the air to check their products, while children scrape the ground to retrieve spent casings.
Visit the backstreet forges to see gun-making skills being passed down from generation to generation. Locally made copies
of every conceivable weapon are available, including assault rifles, sawed-off shotguns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers
and James Bond-style pistols disguised as fountain pens. We don't suggest buying - it's illegal to take any weapons back into
other areas of Pakistan - but for a small fee you can fire an AK-47 into the surrounding mountains at the edge of town. 100
mi/160 km west of Islamabad.