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Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Pakistan
Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are areas of Pakistan outside any of the four provinces, comprising a region of some 27,220 km² (10,507 mi²). Neighbouring regions are: Afghanistan to the west with the border marked by the Durand Line, North-West Frontier to the north, Punjab to the east and Balochistan to the south. The total population of the FATA was estimated in 1998 to comprise about 3,138,000 people, or roughly 2% of Pakistan's population. Only 2.7% of the population of the Tribal Areas lives in its towns.
The region is only nominally controlled by the central government of Pakistan. The mainly Pashtun tribes that inhabit the areas are fiercely independent, but until recently the tribes had friendly relations with the Pakistan central government.
After negotiating with tribal maliks, regular Pakistani army troops entered the tribal areas for the first time in Pakistani history - as of 2004, there are about 70,000 troops there. With foreign financial assistance, Pakistan is building roads and other infrastructure in the tribal areas. It is believed by some that Osama bin Laden is hiding with some sympathetic tribes in the FATA, but the validity of this is unknown. It certainly appears that Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters have a presence in the region. Pakistani troops and U.S. forces have carried out "coordinated operations" in the border region . In 2004, Army attacks on local militant groups resulted in civilian casualties, fueling an insurgency on the part of some Waziri tribal groups  . Some tribal leaders in the Waziristan area have rejected attempts to politically exploit the casualties.
The economy of the FATA is chiefly pastoral, with some agriculture practiced in the region's few fertile valleys. Historically it used to be a major centre for opium production. Although that has been significantly suppressed by the Pakistani government, opium smuggling from Afghanistan continues to be a problem.
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