The dispute between the Taliban and Pakistan over the Durand Line is increasing. The Taliban has expressed strong objection to the fencing of Pakistan on the Afghan border and has threatened war. The Taliban does not recognize the Durand Line, the border between Pakistan-Afghanistan, from the beginning. It claims that the area of Afghanistan is far beyond the present border. This is the only issue on which the former civilian government of Afghanistan and the Taliban were in agreement. The Taliban has also pulled down Pakistan’s fencing on the Durand Line. In such a situation, it is certain that the difficulties of Imran Khan, who is seeking donations from the world as the brand ambassador of Taliban, are going to increase further.
Taliban opposes Durand Line
Afghanistan’s majority Pashtuns and Taliban have never considered the Durand Line as an official border line. Zabiullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s top spokesman, said soon after the occupation of Afghanistan that the new Afghan government would announce its stand on the issue. He had claimed that Pakistan-made fencing has separated people and divided families. We want to create a safe and peaceful environment along the border, so there is no need to create barriers.
Durand Line is the legacy of the British-Soviet Union Great Game
The Durand Line is a legacy of the Great Game of the 19th century between the Russian and British Empires. The then fearful British Empire used Afghanistan as a buffer zone to avoid Russian expansionism in the east. The Durand Line was signed on 12 November 1893 between British civil servant Sir Henry Mortimer Durand and the then Afghan ruler Amir Abdur Rahman.
How was the Durand Line formed?
Abdur Rahman was appointed King of Afghanistan in 1880, two years after the end of the Second Afghan War. In this war, the British army had captured a large part of the Kingdom of Afghanistan. Abdur Rahman was made king by the British on his own will. After which his agreement with Sir Durand in 1893 determined the boundaries of his and British India’s areas of influence on the Afghan border with India. Then the present Pakistan was also included in India.
This line extends from China to Iran
The seven-section agreement recognized a 2,670-km line between the then British India and Afghanistan. According to Rajeev Dogra, author of Durand’s Curse: A Line Across the Pathan Heart, Durand had drawn this line on a small map of Afghanistan during his conversation with Amir. The Durand Line extends from the border of China to Iran.
What is the objection of Pashtuns?
Pashtuns living near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border allege that this line divided their homes. They had lived in that area for the last hundred years with their families and tribes, but the British drew this line through a ploy through the Pashtun-dominated areas. As a result, the Pashtuns were imprisoned in the wall between the two countries.