ThemeThe Durand line is theofficial border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is 2,430 KM long and runsthrough Hindu Kush ranges. Acceptance of this line has always been a problemfor Afghan people because it has cut through their tribal areas and politicallydivided Pashtuns and Baloch people on both sides.
From geopolitical andgeostrategic perspective, the Pak-Afghan border has said to be the most tensedand dangerous borders of the world. It has been more than100 years but still the issue couldn’t be resolved. The main problem is thatthe Afghan people don’t recognize the Durand line is the border betweenPakistan and Afghanistan.
The purpose of this paper is to evaluate and analysethe fencing of the Durand line in the context of Pak-Afghan relations and toexplore the reasons why Afghanistan don’t recognize it. Why Afghanistan is sosensitive about this? If they are sincere about their efforts in stoppinginfiltration of insurgents in to their country then why they don’t want thefencing of the border to go smooth? What will be the effect of the fencing inthis region? Apart from the literature on the subject, recent newspaper andreports have also been used. This paper will give a conclusion on the issue,which is straining relations between two neighbouring countries easier tounderstand as a whole. AbstractIn late 1880s,The Amir of Afghanistan demanded that there should be a clear border betweenAfghanistan and British India. The British India was also interested in thismatter. In 1893, Sir Mortimer Durand was dispatched to British India to resolvethe border agreement issue.
In 1896 the agreement was finalized and the linewas given name after Sir Mortimer Durand. The purpose of the present researchis to unravel and analyse the factors responsible for the demarcation of theDurand line and the new dimensions of the whole scenario in the wake of tragicevents of 9/11 and the US invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001. Other issueslike:- · The Taliban regime.· The regrouping of Talibanand al Qaida in the tribal areas of Pakistan and their intrusion inAfghanistan.· The presence ofPakistani troops in the tribal territories and its repercussions.· The unchecked cross-border infiltrations andits impact.· The fencing of Durandline and Afghanistan’s reaction on it. Introduction Pakistanshares border with Afghanistan, China, India and Iran – adding up to about6,975 km in length.
Pakistan shares its largest border with Afghanistan at theDurand line, 2430 km, which runs from the Hindu Kush and the Pamir Mountains.The Pak-Afghan border touches the Seiko range in the north and Iranian borderto the south-west. Most of the global powers accepts Pakistan’s argument on thePak-Afghan border and agree that the Durand line is and should be theinternational border between the two countries and it has been more than acentury, they also believe that Afghanistan has no legal right to repudiate anyagreement on the Durand line. UK, the US, China supports Pakistan on thismatter and believe that the Durand line is settled matter and should not bemade an international issue anymore. Afghanistan believes thatthe Durand agreement is now a century old and is no more valid according to today’ssituation, they make territorial claims that few part of Pakistan where Pashtunpopulation lives are also the part of Afghanistan which stretches from theDurand line to the Indus River. In few historical events, Afghanistan didrecognized the Durand line as international border.
In 1905, Amir Habibullah Khan signed a newagreement with Britain confirming the legality of the Durand line. Afghanistanagreed on all the border agreements with India after it reclaimed itsindependence. Neither British nor Pakistan imposed anything of Afghanistan.After founding of Pakistan in 1947, Afghanistan demanded that the Pashtunpopulation of Pakistan should be given self-determination, of joining thoseparts which Pashtun population lived, with Afghanistan. This demand wasrejected both by British and Pakistan.
In response, Afghan government startedignoring the Durand line and instead started asserting claims on territoriesthat lay between the Durand line and Indus River. Due to existence ofterrorists safe heavens and negligence of both governments on this matter hascaused instability around the region. Pak-Afghan border is also considered asunsafe and unstable border of the world.
Routine matters involve several formof criminal and illegal activities being done through the border such assmuggling of goods like cars, electronic devices/appliances and timber.Afghanistan is also considered as drug hub of the world, they find their wayinto Pakistan. The border has been opened for trade and employment,historically. There was no such problems before the Soviet invasion inAfghanistan before 1979. To get rid of soviet, Pakistan had to let millions ofrefugee to seek protection here in Pakistan. The Taliban government was formedas a result of the Soviet invasion.
The American intervention into Afghanistanafter 9/11 made situation even more worst. The Karzai government andinternational community believed that Pakistan was funding and supportingterrorists who were against NATO forces, also helping terrorists in crossingborder. But soon these allegations were put to dust when Pakistan provided transitsfacilities to NATO forces. Drug trafficking, illegal border crossing, terrorist’ssafe heavens still remain core security concerns for Pakistan. The Durand line hasdivided many tribes and families on both sides, which angered many people, thisalso kind of affected their rights. So, under the legal rubric easement rights,the distributed tribes and family were given permission to cross border at anytime and they can easily move back and forth without any problem.
The Durand lineagreement grants easement rights, thereby allowing people to cross border.These rights have been clearly stated and understood by both the countries andthe people. Fencing of the Durand line won’t have any implications on theeasement rights and the agreement. Now, Pakistan maintains proper records ofthe people coming and going through the border.
The agreement also allowPakistan to check and stop people from crossing border.