The town (also called Edwardesabad and Dhulipnagar) lies in the north-west corner of the district, in the valley of the Kurram river.
In addition to the Indus the other streams flowing through the district are the Kurram (which falls into the Indus) and its tributary the Gambila.
This last region is divided into five agencies: Dir, Swat and Chitral, with headquarters at Malakand; Khyber, Kurram, Tochi and Wana.
The largest of these traverses the district from Kushalgarh on the Indus to Thal on the Kurram, narrowing in places, but usually opening out into wide cornlands and pastures dotted with the dwarf palm.
Where irrigated from the Kurram river, especially round Bannu itself, this tract is well cultivated and forms a great contrast to the harsh desolation of the Kohat hills.
The boundary of the province here follows the line of the Safed Koh, which overlooks the Afridi Tirah and the upper Kurram valley.
Dotted with towered hamlets and stately chinas groves the valley of the Kurram runs south-east from the Peiwar Kotal (below the great peak of Sikaram), past Thal in the Miranzai valley, through the southern Kohat hills to Bannu.
South of the Kurram is the Tochi valley, separating it from Waziristan, an isolated mountainous district bounded on the south by the Gomal and the gorges that lead to the Wana plain.
The range of the Safed Koh flanks the Kurram valley and encloses the Kabul basin, which finds its outlet to the Indus through the Mohmand hills.
The Kurram river rises in the southern slopes of the Safed Koh, and after leaving the Kurram valley passes through the Kohat hills and enters Bannu district.
The Kurram then empties itself into the Indus.
In the census of 1901 the operations were extended for the first time to the Kurram Valley and the Sherani country, trans-frontier territories containing a population of 66,628 souls, which had not been previously enumerated.
In the trans-border agencies the valleys of the Swat, Kurram and Tochi rivers yield abundant rice crops.
A bridge has been built at this point, and the railway continued through Kohat to Thal at the entrance of the Kurram valley.
Strategically it is an important topographical feature, for it divides the basin of the Kabul river and the Khyber route from the valley of Kurram, leaving no practicable pass across its rugged crest to connect the two.
From the neighbourhood of Landi Kotal the boundary is carried to the Safed Koh overlooking the Afridi Tirah, and then, rounding off the cultivated portions of the Kurram valley below the Peiwar, it crosses the Kaitu and passes to the upper reaches of the Tochi.
After the Hindu Kush and the Turkestan mountains, that range which divides Ningrahar (or the valley of Jalalabad) from Kurram and the Afridi Tirah, and is called Safed Koh (also the name of the range south of the Hari Rud), is the most important, as it is the most impressive, in Afghanistan.
At a point which is not far east of the Kabul meridian an offshoot is directed southwards, which becomes the water-parting between the Kurram and the Logar at Shutargardan, and can be traced to a connexion with the great watershed of the frontier dividing the Indus basin from that of the Helmund.
The Khyber, Kurram and Tochi are the best known, inasmuch as all these lines of advance into Afghanistan are held by British troops or Indian levies.
The Kurram route involves the Peiwar and Shutargardan passes (8600 and 10,800 ft.
The Gomal route is of immense importance, both as a commercial and strategic line, and in both particulars is of far greater significance than either the Kurram or the Tochi.
Rain also falls at this season at the head of Kurram valley.
The vast majority of Afghans are of the Sunni sect; but there are, in their midst, such powerful communities of Shiahs as the Hazaras of the central districts, the Kizilbashes of Kabul and the Turis of the Kurram border, nor is there between them that bitterness of sectarian animosity which is so marked a feature in India.
Kabul is chiefly supplied with iron from the Permuli (or Farmuli) district, between the Upper Kurram and Gomal, where it is said to be abundant.
Lead is found in Upper Bangash (Kurram district), and in the Shinwari country (also among the branches of Safed Koh), and in the Kakar country.
Coal (perhaps lignite) is said to be found in Zurmat (between the Upper Kurram and the Gomal) and near Ghazni.
Another force under Sir Frederick Roberts marched up to the high passes leading out of Kurram into the interior of Afghanistan, defeated the amir's troops at the Peiwar Kotal, and seized the Shutargardan Pass which commands a direct route to Kabul through the Logar valley.
An ad j acent opening, the Khyber Pass, the Kurram Pass to the south of it, the Gomal Pass near Dera Ismail Khan, the Tochi Pass between the two last-named, and the famous Bolan Pass still farther south, furnish the gateways between India and Afghanistan.
British armies advanced by three routes - the Khyber, the Kurram and the Bolan - and without much opposition occupied the inner entrances of the passes.