I'm going to start this travelogue in Peshawar. Peshawar is now officially recognized as being one of the Oldest Living Cities in Asia. Its history and culture has continued uninterrupted since several centuries. Loads of history sitting at the edge of the Khyber Pass.
Near Peshawar is Darra Adam Khel (درہ آدم خیل), which is what most people think of when you mention Peshawar. In particular:
a wide variety of firearms are produced in the town, from anti-aircraft guns to pen-guns. Weapons are handmade by individual craftsmen using traditional manufacturing techniques, usually handed down father-to-son. The quality of the guns is generally high and craftsman are able to produce replicas of almost any gun. Guns are regularly tested by test-firing into the air.Guess what, The Constitution of Pakistan guarantees the right to keep and bear arms!
The "gun rights" situation changed after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 where the new constitution included the right to keep and bear arms, similar to the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, but far more gun loon friendly! There are an estimated 18 million firearms in public ownership among the country's population of 180 million, of which 7 million are registered. The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa permits the ownership of heavy weaponry including the use of rocket launchers, short-, medium-, and long-range rockets, anti-aircraft guns, mortars, etc. These heavy weapons may be made locally. Men usually own fully automatic firearms and Semi-automatic firearms whereas women usually own pistols.
I refer you to Wikipedia for more about this gunloon slice of heaven.
But head further up the Khyber and we come to Afghanistan which is another gun loon heaven. despite the Afghans being armed to the teeth, it hasn't stopped the Russians and NATO from invading with the usual results of a hot and heavy battle with the natives. If you seriously think about fighting a modern army, take a look at the cost to Afghanistan. Since Pashtuns cross the Pakistan-Afghan border, we can say this about their culture:
Other enduring customs and a strong culture of honor also promote the prevalence and importance of guns. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the Pashtun residents laud performances of strength and toughness, carrying a Kalashnikov or other gun is a sign of honour and respect.Sound like anybody you know?
But, all those guns didn't stop the Taliban from taking over.
And talk about armed dickheads screwing things up, the Taliban decided to blow up the Buddhas of Bamiyan, these are two 6th century monumental statues of standing buddhas carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan and designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The bottom line is that this is a part of the world which has loads of history and culture, but it isn't a place where anyone in their right mind would want to go.
Even if you were a total gun loon and wanted the ultimate holiday, this isn't a place you would want to visit:
Foreigners were once allowed to visit the town if they had a permit, obtainable from the Home Office in Peshawar (permits are no longer issued due to 'security concerns', however it is possible to take the Peshawar-Kohat bus and get off at the town, which will usually also involve being sent back by the local tribal police called 'khasadars'). Some 'fixers' in Peshawar offer to arrange a visit for a considerable sum. In this case a bodyguard will accompany visitors whilst they are in the town, and it may be possible to test-fire weapons for a small fee.And that's only the beginning...
Technically visitors can buy guns, though they will usually be confiscated by guards - as the sellers inform them. Difficulties can only sometimes be avoided by judicious use of 'baksheesh' (bribes). As of early 2008 Darra Adam Khel has been the site of skirmishes between militants and the army, making visits by Westerners highly dangerous endeavors.