Khyber Rifles

Khyber Rifles

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Khyber Rifles

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The Khyber Rifles is a para-military force forming part of the modern Pakistan Army's Frontier Corps. Dating from the late nineteenth century the regiment provided the title and setting for a widely read novel, King of the Khyber Rifles.


Origins and early commanders

During the period of British rule, the Khyber Rifles was one of eight "Frontier Corps" or paramilitary units recruited from the tribesmen of the North West Frontier, serving as auxiliaries for the regular British Indian Army. Raised in the early 1880s as the Khyber Jezailchis, the Khyber Rifles was recruited from Afridi tribesmen, with British commanders seconded from regular Indian regiments. Subordinate officers were Afridis. The first commandant was Sir Robert Warburton, son of an Anglo-Irish soldier Robert Warburton of the Bengal Artillery and his wife Shah Jehan Begum, an Afghan princess. Sir Robert remained the commandant until his retirement in 1899. His deputy, Nawab Sir Aslam Khan Saddozai, the first Muslim commandant, succeeded him.


The headquarters of the Khyber Rifles was at Landi Kotal. Its prime role was to guard the Khyber Pass. The three main garrisons of the regiment were Landi Kotal, at the western end of the Pass, Fort Maude to the east, and Ali Masjid in the centre.

Insignia and uniform

The badge of the Corps comprised two crossed Afghan daggers with the words KHYBER above and RIFLES below. While the Indian Army as a whole was noted for its colourful and...
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