24 July 2020
Once again cross-line fire by the Pakistani army to clear the areas for continuation of work on construction of barriers on the Durand Line, this time at Dor-Baba District of the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, has resulted in heightening tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Construction of a fence, along the more than 2,600km Durand Line is boosted by the Pakistani army as its response criticism of its failure to control the movement of the Taliban across the border. In reality, however, this fence has never been designed to stop cross-line in-filtration by the Afghan Taliban from their safe havens in Pakistan into Afghanistan as they do that with the full blessing and support of the Pakistani army. In fact, construction of barriers on the Durand Line is on one hand an attempt to shift attention from Pakistan being as the breeding ground for international terrorism and on the other hand is an institutionalized divider aimed at making the Durand Line a managed border by the Pakistani Army.
In-spite of concerns over rights of the Pashtun and Baloch people residing in Pakistan, Afghanistan has never been a serious security challenge for Pakistan. Afghanistan maintained a strict neutrality during all of Pakistan’s wars with India. The Durand Line is controversial for Afghans as it divides the dominant Pashtun tribes living in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Durand Line which has been in place for about past 130 years, first between Afghanistan and the British India, and since 1947, between Pakistan and Afghanistan, has never caused a serious security issue for both countries. Peoples on both sides of the line crossed it in their thousands on daily basis without any formalities.
We believe that until recent Pakistan attempts to dug trenches, barbed wire and erect border-like check posts, the Durand-Line statuesque maintained free movement of people similar to open borders of the European Union and both Afghanistan and Pakistan benefited from such arrangements. This is a line that Pakistan and its army can forget and don’t worry about.
We strongly condemn cross-line fires by Pakistani army into Afghanistan and its attempts to construct barriers along the Durand Line and call upon the international community to condemn such actions and prevent Pakistan pursuing these provocations.
Dr. Noor Ahmad Khalidi
President Afghan Diaspora Unity Council