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Editorial: Stabbing in the back?

Availing from the relative lull in bilateral trust deficit – owing mostly to the peace talks – and the numerous issues Afghanistan is facing, our neighboring country Pakistan continues to fence the Durand Line. On one hand, it talks about partaking in meetings with Afghan officials to improve ties but on the other, it carries out such actions that could be construed as stabbing Afghanistan in the back. In a recent bold move, Pakistani forces have recently constructed a new gate in Sasubi village of the Dur-Baba district of Nangarhar province. This is while Afghanistan already has many issues on its plate – ranging from insurgency, slugging peace process and COVID-19-induced fallout, etc – and Pakistan finds it the opportune moment to go for its illegal efforts on the Durand Line. Meanwhile, Pakistan draws attention away from this issue of Afghanistan’s national interest by announcing the opening of Wagah port, which facilitates the transit trade of Afghan exports to India.  The country has also resumed bilateral trade and transit trade through all the Durand Line crossings. The bilateral trade between the countries came to a halt in March as transportation of Afghan goods to India through Wagah under the 2010 Afghanistan -Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement was completely stopped. If the country really wants to reinforce the political and economic ties with Kabul and for these gestures of resuming trade to be effective, it should tread very carefully. Durand Line is a hypothetical line not a border, fencing or building installations along it under the pretext of preventing terrorist movement is a direct violation of international laws and norms of neighborliness. Therefore, taking credit for facilitating the US-Taliban peace accord and then carrying out such acts in exchange isn’t the way to go about bilateral relations with Afghanistan. This act of the country would only lead to further strained relations. The country is well-advised to avoid provoking Afghans through such moves and making it a further deteriorated issue. On the other hand, the Afghan government’s inaction and tight-lipped stance against this matter are worrisome. The government needs to come to the fore and clarify why is there negligence regarding a matter that is undermining Afghanistan’s territorial integrity?

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