Understanding the Pakistan-Afghanistan Frontier
Thomas H. Johnson and M. Chris Mason
By 1932, British troops had been waging war of varying intensity with a group of intractable tribes along and beyond the northwestern frontier of India for nearly a century. That year, in summarizing a typical skirmish, one British veteran noted laconically, "Probably no sign till the burst of fire, and then the swift rush with knives, the stripping of the dead, and the unhurried mutilation of the infidels."¹ It was a savage, cruel, and peculiar kind of mountain warfare, frequently driven by religious zealotry on the tribal side, and it was singularly unforgiving of tactical error, momentary inattention, or cultural ignorance.