Location of North and South Waziristan (green) inside Pakistan (white)
Waziristan (Pashto and Urdu: وزیرستان, "land of the Wazir") is a mountainous region covering the North Waziristan and South Waziristan agencies, FR Bannu, and the western part of Tank in northwestern Pakistan, and the Janikhel, Gurbuz and Barmal districts of eastern Afghanistan. Waziristan covers some 15,000 square kilometres (5,800 sq mi). The area is mostly populated by ethnic Pashtuns. It is named after the Wazir tribe. The language spoken in the valley is Pashto, predominantly the Wazir dialect. Most of the region forms the southern part of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
Waziristan lies between the Tochi River to the north and the Gomal River to the south. It is bordered by Bannu and Tank Districts, FR DI Khan, and Kurram Agency to the east and northeast, Sherani and Musakhel Districts to the south, and Khost, Paktia, and Paktika Provinces to the west and north. Before 1894, the Waziristan region was under the government of the Afghan Empire, which was based in Kabul. The British entered Waziristan in 1894. After the British military operations in 1894–95, Waziristan was divided into two "agencies", North Waziristan and South Waziristan. The estimated populations as of 1998 were 361,246 and 429,841, respectively. The two parts have quite distinct characteristics, though both are inhabited by the Wazir tribe. They have a reputation as formidable warriors.
The Wazir tribes are divided into clans governed by male village elders who meet in a tribal jirga. Socially and religiously, Waziristan is an extremely conservative area. Women are carefully guarded, and every household must be headed by a male figure. Tribal cohesiveness is also kept strong by means of the so-called Collective Responsibility Acts in the Frontier Crimes Regulations.
Taliban presence in the area has been an issue of international concern in the War on Terrorism particularly since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, but has a history back to the later 19th Century. In 2014, about 929,859 people were reported to be internally displaced from Waziristan as a result of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, a military offensive conducted by the Pakistan Armed Forces along the Durand Line.