1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gomal

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GOMAL, or Gumal, the name of a river of Afghanistan, and of a mountain pass on the Dera Ismail Khan border of the North-West Frontier Province of British India. The Gomal river, one of the most important rivers in Afghanistan, rises in the unexplored regions to the south-east of Ghazni. Its chief tributary is the Zhob. Within the limits of British territory the Gomal forms the boundary between the North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan, and more or less between the Pathan and Baluch races. The Gomal pass is the most important pass on the Indian frontier between the Khyber and the Bolan. It connects Dera Ismail Khan with the Gomal valley in Afghanistan, and has formed for centuries the outlet for the povindah trade. Until the year 1889 this pass was almost unknown to the Anglo-Indian official; but in that year the government of India decided that, in order to maintain the safety of the railway as well as to perfect communication between Quetta and the Punjab, the Zhob valley should, like the Bori valley, be brought under British protection and control, and the Gomal pass should be opened. After the Waziristan expedition of 1894 Wana was occupied by British troops in order to dominate the Gomal and Waziristan; but on the formation of the North-West Frontier Province in 1901 it was decided to replace these troops by the South Waziristan militia, who now secure the safety of the pass.