Mountain system, south-central Asia. Some 500 mi (800 km) long, it runs from the Pamirs in the east near the Pakistan-China border through Pakistan to western Afghanistan. The system forms a drainage divide between the Amu Darya (ancient Oxus River) valley to the northwest and the Indus River valley to the southeast. Its passes have historically been of great military significance, providing access to the northern plains of the Indian subcontinent. It includes about two dozen summits above 23,000 ft (7,000 m), including the highest, Tirich Mir, at 25,230 ft (7,690 m).
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