The Durand line is the
official border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is 2,430 KM long and runs
through Hindu Kush ranges. Acceptance of this line has always been a problem
for Afghan people because it has cut through their tribal areas and politically
divided Pashtuns and Baloch people on both sides. From geopolitical and
geostrategic perspective, the Pak-Afghan border has said to be the most tensed
and dangerous borders of the world.
It has been more than
100 years but still the issue couldn’t be resolved. The main problem is that
the Afghan people don’t recognize the Durand line is the border between
Pakistan and Afghanistan. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate and analyse
the fencing of the Durand line in the context of Pak-Afghan relations and to
explore the reasons why Afghanistan don’t recognize it. Why Afghanistan is so
sensitive about this? If they are sincere about their efforts in stopping
infiltration of insurgents in to their country then why they don’t want the
fencing of the border to go smooth? What will be the effect of the fencing in
this region? Apart from the literature on the subject, recent newspaper and
reports have also been used. This paper will give a conclusion on the issue,
which is straining relations between two neighbouring countries easier to
understand as a whole.
In late 1880s,
The Amir of Afghanistan demanded that there should be a clear border between
Afghanistan and British India. The British India was also interested in this
matter. In 1893, Sir Mortimer Durand was dispatched to British India to resolve
the border agreement issue. In 1896 the agreement was finalized and the line
was given name after Sir Mortimer Durand. The purpose of the present research
is to unravel and analyse the factors responsible for the demarcation of the
Durand line and the new dimensions of the whole scenario in the wake of tragic
events of 9/11 and the US invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001. Other issues
The Taliban regime.
The regrouping of Taliban
and al Qaida in the tribal areas of Pakistan and their intrusion in
The presence of
Pakistani troops in the tribal territories and its repercussions.
The unchecked cross-border infiltrations and
The fencing of Durand
line and Afghanistan’s reaction on it.
shares border with Afghanistan, China, India and Iran – adding up to about
6,975 km in length. Pakistan shares its largest border with Afghanistan at the
Durand 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 border
to the south-west. Most of the global powers accepts Pakistan’s argument on the
Pak-Afghan border and agree that the Durand line is and should be the
international border between the two countries and it has been more than a
century, they also believe that Afghanistan has no legal right to repudiate any
agreement on the Durand line. UK, the US, China supports Pakistan on this
matter and believe that the Durand line is settled matter and should not be
made an international issue anymore.
Afghanistan believes that
the Durand agreement is now a century old and is no more valid according to today’s
situation, they make territorial claims that few part of Pakistan where Pashtun
population lives are also the part of Afghanistan which stretches from the
Durand line to the Indus River. In few historical events, Afghanistan did
recognized the Durand line as international border. In 1905, Amir Habibullah Khan signed a new
agreement with Britain confirming the legality of the Durand line. Afghanistan
agreed on all the border agreements with India after it reclaimed its
independence. Neither British nor Pakistan imposed anything of Afghanistan.
After founding of Pakistan in 1947, Afghanistan demanded that the Pashtun
population of Pakistan should be given self-determination, of joining those
parts which Pashtun population lived, with Afghanistan. This demand was
rejected both by British and Pakistan. In response, Afghan government started
ignoring the Durand line and instead started asserting claims on territories
that lay between the Durand line and Indus River.
Due to existence of
terrorists safe heavens and negligence of both governments on this matter has
caused instability around the region. Pak-Afghan border is also considered as
unsafe and unstable border of the world. Routine matters involve several form
of criminal and illegal activities being done through the border such as
smuggling of goods like cars, electronic devices/appliances and timber.
Afghanistan is also considered as drug hub of the world, they find their way
The border has been opened for trade and employment,
historically. There was no such problems before the Soviet invasion in
Afghanistan before 1979. To get rid of soviet, Pakistan had to let millions of
refugee to seek protection here in Pakistan. The Taliban government was formed
as a result of the Soviet invasion. The American intervention into Afghanistan
after 9/11 made situation even more worst. The Karzai government and
international community believed that Pakistan was funding and supporting
terrorists who were against NATO forces, also helping terrorists in crossing
border. But soon these allegations were put to dust when Pakistan provided transits
facilities to NATO forces. Drug trafficking, illegal border crossing, terrorist’s
safe heavens still remain core security concerns for Pakistan.
The Durand line has
divided many tribes and families on both sides, which angered many people, this
also kind of affected their rights. So, under the legal rubric easement rights,
the distributed tribes and family were given permission to cross border at any
time and they can easily move back and forth without any problem. The Durand line
agreement grants easement rights, thereby allowing people to cross border.
These rights have been clearly stated and understood by both the countries and
the people. Fencing of the Durand line won’t have any implications on the
easement rights and the agreement. Now, Pakistan maintains proper records of
the people coming and going through the border. The agreement also allow
Pakistan to check and stop people from crossing border.