The Afridi (or Afridai in the singular) are without doubt the present representatives of the Aparytae of Herodotus, Both the names and the positions are identically the same. The extent of the ancient country and the character of its people appear to have undergone a considerable change, but still not so great as to mar identity. The original limits of the Afridi (or Afreedee, as the name is often spelt) country, probably, comprised the whole of the Sufed Koh range and the country at the base of it on the north and south sides - to the Kabul and Kurram rivers respectively - whilst its extent from east to west was from the Pewar ridge, or the head waters of the Kurram further west, to the Indus; between the points of junction with it of the Kabul and Kurram rivers, in the former direction.
With the Afridi of the present day are now reckoned as kindred tribes the Orakzai and Bangash, of whose origin very little is known, though they are, perhaps, of Scythic descent, and came into their present positions with the Scythic irruption before alluded to. By the Afghans they are classed as Turklanri, which is a division of the Ghurghusht tribe of Afghans. The Ghurghusht tribe is held to be composed of the descendants of the third son of Kais - the great ancestral progenitor of the Pukhto-speaking peoples - and will be again referred to hereafter.
The Turklanri people, according to the Afghan writers, include the Afridi, Orakzai, Bangash, Tori, Waziri, etc, etc., who are mostly settled in the northern half of the Suleman range. The word itself means "the Turk brotherhood" or "kinsfolk," just as Khorlanri means "sisterhood," or the affinity between sisters or maidens associated together; but there seems to be some confusion in the tubes so put together, as the list includes also the Khattak and several petty Indian tribes on the north of the Kabul river, as well as the Jaji and others to the south of it, and to the west of the Khybar.
The Turklanri are also known by the names of Kararai or Karalanri (the n is nasal), and the story connected with their origin is to the effect that, two brothers of the Khattak tribe were on the march together when they came upon the camping ground of an army which had recently left it. The one brother who was childless, found an iron cooking-pot, called karrhai in Pukhtu, and the other, who was over blessed with children, found an infant boy amongst the refuse of the camp. The brothers exchanged their windfalls, and the boy was called in connection with the above circumstances Kararai, which afterwards, as the tribes sprung from him increased in numbers and power, was changed to Karalanri. The drift of the legend indicates the invasion of foreigners, and their settlement in the country, but the absence of dates and particulars leaves their identification altogether uncertain, especially as no locality is indicated. From the mention of the Khattak people, however, it would seem that the Turklanri were composed of various sects of different Turk tribes who successively came into these parts with the invasions of Sabaktakin in the tenth, and of Tymur in the sixteenth centuries of our era. They very probably maintained their national identity till the collapse of the Chaghatai or Tymur dynasty, after which they lost power and became absorbed into the general nationality of the country. It seems certain, also, that some Turk tribes came down and settled on the Suleman range at a much earlier period than the time of Sabaktakin, for the early Arab historians mention the fact of their armies being opposed by a Turk people in the country now held by the Kakar This was in the first century of the Muhammadan, and eighth of our own era, and the facts alluded to may probably be relegated to the Scythic invasion already mentioned The subject is one well deserving careful investigation.
Whatever the origin of the Orakzai and Bangash, they appear to have shifted from their first positions in this countiy, for the Bangash are stated to have been originally settled in Zurmal or Zurmat, next to the Katti of Kattawaz. Here they were constantly at feud with their neighbours, the Farmuli, as well as amongst themselves, the two great national factions of Samal and Gara being always at war They were ousted from Zurmat, say the Afghan accounts, about five hundred years ago, by the Ghilji, and driven into Kuriam, and, finally, after a prolonged contest there with the Tori, they were forced into their present position in Miranzai and Kohat. Many of these tribes, however, emigrated to Hindustan, where the Orakzai established a colony at Bhopal, and the Bangash another at Farukhabad in the North-West Provinces The family of the present Nawab of Farukhabad belongs to this tribe, as does that of the Begam of Bhopal to the Orakzai.
The Afridi country, it would thus appear, was at an early period encroached upon by a variety of petty Turk tribes, and the natives, unable to withstand them, retired to the interior of their mountains, to Tirah and Mydan, and to the fastnesses of the Khybar hills, in short, to the hilly country which extends from the main range of Sufed Koh to the Indus. The tract lying to the south of this, from Mydan in the west to the Indus at Karabagh in the east, was held mainly by Orakzai, whilst the Miranzai and Kurram valleys were held by the Bangash. A division of the ancient Afridi country, after something of this sort, held good, it appears, till about six or seven hundred years ago, when the original inhabitants were ousted by encroaching tribes entirely foreign to the country, and of distinct race. Thus the traditions of the Toris of the Kurram valley trace their arrival in the present seat of their people from northern Sind, where they formed a powerful section of the Toghiani Turks. And the date of their conquest they carry back to some six hundred years ago. It was about this time also that the ancient neighbours of the Aparytae, being driven from their native seats, forced themselves into the Aparytae territories, and, under the name of Khattak, established themselves in all the country from the lower Kabul river on the north to the Kurram on the south.