Daily News Analysis

Durand Line  

4th September, 2021 International Relations


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  • Taliban in Afghanistan opposes the fence erected by Pakistan along the Durand Line.
  • The new Afghan government will announce its position on this issue.
  • It want to create a secure and peaceful environment on the border so there is no need to create barriers.
  • The issue has sowed distrust between Afghans and Pakistan for decades, and is a potential flashpoint in relations between the Taliban and Pakistan.


What is Durand Line?

  • The Durand Line is a legacy of the 19th century Great Game between the Russian and British empires in which Afghanistan was used as a buffer by the British against a feared Russian expansionism to its east.
  • The agreement demarcating what became known as the Durand Line was signed on November 12, 1893 between the British civil servant Sir Henry Mortimer Durand and Amir Abdur Rahman, then the Afghan ruler.
  • The line stretches from the border with China to Afghanistan’s border with Iran.


Cross-border tensions

  • With independence in 1947, Pakistan inherited the Durand Line, and with it also the Pashtun rejection of the line, and Afghanistan’s refusal to recognise it.
  • Afghanistan was the only country to vote against Pakistan joining the United Nations in 1947.
  • Pashtunistan’ — an independent country of the Pashtuns — was a demand made by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan at the time of Partition, although he later resigned himself to the reality of Partition.
  • The fear of Indian support to Pashtun nationalism haunts Pakistan to date, and is embedded in its Afghan policy.
  • Pakistan believes that in the new situation in Afghanistan, the fence will help control any spillover from unrest and chaos there.