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The Broken Border Called Durand Line

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (R) shakes hands with former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after a joint press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan on May 12, 2015. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Tuesday that a peaceful Afghanistan would benefit Pakistan and Islamabad supports the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process (File)

The border dispute between Pakistan and Afghanistan is rooted in Durand Line. The 2600 km long Durand Line was drawn by the then British rulers of India as a boundary between India and Afghanistan 54 years before the creation of Pakistan by carving India….writes Samuel Baid

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (R) shakes hands with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after a joint press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan on May 12, 2015. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Tuesday that a peaceful Afghanistan would benefit Pakistan and Islamabad supports the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process (File)
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (R) shakes hands with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after a joint press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan on May 12, 2015. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Tuesday that a peaceful Afghanistan would benefit Pakistan and Islamabad supports the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process (File)

The 2600 km long Durand Line was drawn by the then British rulers of India as a boundary between India and Afghanistan 54 years before the creation of Pakistan by carving India.  Pakistan claims it has inherited the line from the British.  After the British left India, Afghanistan increased its opposition to this line and came into conflict with newly created Pakistan.  It was the only country to oppose its admission into the United Nations while Muslim countries in the Middle East looked askance at its (Pakistan’s) creation.

The Durand line has since been the root of conflicts between the two countries.  The proud Afghan rejects it.  Afghan refugees, who took refuge in camps in Pakistan’s tribal areas during the Afghan war of the 1980s, refused to accept the Durand line as the border between the two countries.  They would put off questions put to them about their views on it by saying “there are no borders in Islam” Or “we are on our own soil”.  Pakistan could not get the Taliban when they ruled Afghanistan (1996 – 2001) to agree to the Durand line.

In 1963 Pakistan illegally signed a border agreement with China in respect of miles of Kashmir territory which did not belong to it.  Pakistan signed this agreement because it feared (still fears) China.  But it has not thought of a border settlement with Afghanistan because it does not fear it.  On the contrary, it toys with an idea to use Afghan territory for strategic depth and interfere in its foreign policy.

Afghan policemen stand guard close to the site of attack in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, May 13, 2015. Casualties were feared Wednesday after two gunmen attacked a government office in Lashkar Gah city, capital of southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, an official source said. (FIle)
Afghan policemen stand guard in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan

The installation of ex-Madrasas obscurantist into power in Kabul by force was a clear indication of Pakistan’s design on war – beaten Afghanistan.  This action of Pakistan pushed back by many years whatever progress Afghanistan had made despite hard times in the past monarchy years.  The new Afghan generation is in no mood to forgive Pakistan for its attempt to inflict obscurantism on their country.

Since 2001, when the Taliban administration was thrown out by American bombers, Pakistan has been trying to install the Taliban into at least a power sharing position in Kabul – to begin with? For this reason Pakistan has been protecting what it calls the good Taliban, having accepted billions of dollars from the United States for fighting them without “discrimination”.  The Afghan Taliban militants who attack Afghanistan are living in Pakistan.  The Haqqani network of the Taliban, ensconced in Pakistan, often carries out deadly attacks in Afghanistan.

The US has been vainly appealing to Pakistan to take action against this network.  Last month US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter declined to give a certification to congress that Pakistan was taking sufficient action against the Haqqani network.  As a result the Pentagon has blocked disbursement $300 million under the Coalition Support Fund.  This money is given to Pakistan for its supposed support to the US operation in Afghanistan.  But Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz is on record as having said why should Pakistan fight those militants who are not against Pakistan.

There is a misleading propaganda that both Pakistan and Afghanistan use each other’s militants against each other.  The fact is that Pakistan has been supporting the

Taliban who attack Afghanistan right since 2001 while Pakistan – Taliban, led by their leader Mullah Fazullah, fled to Afghanistan in the wake of the Army operation called “Zarb-e-Azb” launched in North Waziristan in 2014. Fazallulah is blamed for attacks in Pakistan.  Afghanistan says it does not know where he is hiding.

Sartaj Aziz’s averment that Pakistan will not fight militants who are not against this country is in addition to his confession that the Afghan Taliban and their families live in Pakistan.  Another statement came from the government saying Pakistan cannot be asked to crack down on the Taliban and also plead with them to join peace talks with the Afghan government.

The above smacks of a blackmailing tactic. If the US stops coalition support fund to it, Pakistan will cast aside its mask of a partner in the US-led coalition against global terrorism and will openly give “moral support” to the Afghan Taliban in their fight to regain their lost power in Afghanistan.  That may be Pakistan’s plan B.

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