Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Darra Adam Khel

Darra Adam Khel (درہ آدم خیل‎)

Darra Adam Khel (DAK ) is a small town in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province of Pakistan, located between Peshawar and Kohat city, very close to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. (FATA) It is inhabited by Pashtuns of the Afridi clan, the Adam Khel. The Adam Khel consist of further five tribes called Hassan Khel, Zarghoon Khel, Sheraki (Amal Khel), Buti Khel and Tur Chapar. The town consists of one main street lined with shops, with some alleys and side streets containing workshops. The Darra Adam Khel is devoted entirely to the production of ordnance.

Darra Adam khel is located in between Kohat and Peshawar, a wide variety of firearms are produced in the town, from anti-aircraft guns to pen-guns. Weapons are handmade by individual craftsmen using traditional manufacturing techniques, usually handed down father-to-son. The quality of the guns is generally high and craftsman are able to produce replicas of almost any gun. Guns are regularly tested by test-firing into the air. Darra is controlled by the local tribesmen. Darra Adam Khel is an unkempt village of two story wood and adobe buildings in the sand stone hills near the Kohat Frontier region. It is the gun factory of the Tribal Areas, located around 40 kilometres (25 mi) south of Peshawar on the road to Kohat. The drive takes around forty minutes. Darra (Adam Khel denotes a clan of the Afridi Tribe) is inside Pakistan but beyond Pakistani law—and very nearly beyond comprehension. Most of the people here seem to make or sell just one thing, i.e., guns, while the second largest business of the inhabitants is transport.

In the arcades off the main road are workshops. Hundreds of closet-sized rooms where men and boys make working copies of the entire world's guns with nothing more than hand tools and a small drill press. The tools are astonishingly primitive, yet the forges turn out accurate reproduction of every conceivable sort of weapon, from pen pistols and hand-grenades to automatic rifles and anti-aircraft guns. The copies are so painstakingly reproduced that even the serial number of the original is carried over. A Darra gunsmith, given a rifle he hasn't seen before, can duplicate it in around ten days. Once the first copy is made, each additional copy takes two or three days due to the templates created. Handguns, being more complex, take a little longer.

Foreigners were once allowed to visit the town if they had a permit, obtainable from the Home Office in Peshawar (permits are no longer issued due to 'security concerns', however it is possible to take the Peshawar-Kohat bus and get off at the town, which will usually also involve being sent back by the local tribal police called 'khasadars'). Some 'fixers' in Peshawar offer to arrange a visit for a considerable sum. In this case a bodyguard will accompany visitors whilst they are in the town, and it may be possible to test-fire weapons for a small fee. Michael Palin visited the town as part of his Himalaya television series, as did Ethan Casey in his travel book Alive and Well in Pakistan while Australian film director Benjamin Gilmour's feature drama Son of a Lion set in Darra Adam Khel premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival 2008.

                                                                      Son of a Lion



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