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Durand Line an unsettled dispute

All hell breaks loose when Afghans hear that the Durand Line is an international border. It has just been a line and not a border as its name suggests. Foreigners believe it or not, it does not matter for Afghans.  Then who the hell is the United States to intrude into the matter and tell us that the Durand Line is an international border. Before hurling any statement regarding this dividing line, which divides a nation not just an ethnic group, the United States or any other nation must read the history of the line and legality of international accords and treaties particularly when made between a weaker state and an imperial power.

People who live in glass houses must not throw stones. The United States must not forget that its very own independence is questionable because the US belongs to the Red Indians and not the whites. Will the white Americans digest this stark fact that America was not discovered it was invaded and enslaved? It was occupied by the British Empire. The American civil war remains controversial. Moreover, no treaty qualifies the legality of a treaty when it is forced on a weaker state. The Durand Line agreement was signed between Afghanistan and British-India. When British left the region, India emerged as the successor state and not Pakistan. And even if one suppose that Pakistan is the successor state, then the United States or any other country that sides with Pakistan must not forget that when a colonial power leaves a country (its colony) it receives only the material things in legacy and not the treaties. Therefore, the Durand Line agreement in no way is transferable. Besides that the agreement was valid for a hundred years. This line was imposed in 1893 and was due to expire in 1993, a time when Afghanistan was hit by a deadliest civil war. In absence of a government in Afghanistan, Kabul couldn’t ask Islamabad regarding the fate of the agreement. If someone says the Taliban were a government, this is highly misleading as they were never recognized by any state in the UN except by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. If tomorrow Afghanistan and two other states recognize Pakistan-administered Kashmir as an independent state and a government, will Pakistan accept it too? The legal status of this highly controversial Durand Line has always remained under questions. The first one is that the document of the agreement was in English and Amir Abdul Rahman Khan didn’t know the English language and he didn’t sign the Dari and Pashto version of the document. Therefore, this very thing causes a blow to the legal status of the agreement. A British writer Fraser Tytler writes that the Durand Line has many defects and few advantages. Therefore, it was very much illogical from ethnography, geography and strategic point of view. The total length of the de-facto border at the time of demarcation was only 800 miles then it reached to 1400 miles (current day length). Besides that neither the US nor Pakistan no Afghanistan and nor any other country could decide regarding the fate of this line rather it is only the people living on both sides of the line to decide about its future. On this side of the Durand Line there is no one that accepts it. On the other side we see the same stance as as Awami National Party and Pakhtunkkhwa Milli Awami Party being the two popular Pashtun nationalist parties have refused to accept it as an international border. Even Pakistan knows about its contentious status. For instance the late interior minister of Pakistan Gen. Naseerullah Babar said that once he was invited by the then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Babar said that Bhutto told him that the Durand Line Agreement is expiring in 1993; therefore, Afghanistan must be destabilized because Afghanistan will reclaim its territories stretching from the Durand Line to the Indus River. Last week, former President Hamid Karzai castigated the international belligerent forces that have waged war on terror and also said that Durand Line is not recognizable as a permanent border between the two countries. He stressed the line had to be redefined. However, addressing a press conference in Washington, State Department, spokesman John Kirby said they don’t have a new policy with respect to the borders of Afghanistan and they recognize the Durand Line as an international border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Better it is the United States stop stirring controversies particularly when it cannot soothe Afghanistan’s ailing and pushing Afghans to sacrifice for American interests. And if an imperial power like the then GB can divide Afghanistan, make Kabul sign the agreement, carve out Pakistan from Indian Sub Continent and divide India, why Afghanistan will not retake its lost territory, but given that once Afghanistan gains stability.

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