Regional

Accept Durand Line

Sep 11, 2017
After putting Pakistan under a lot of pressure, America’s policy for the region of South Asia has finally shown some rationality. On Thursday, California Democrat Brad Sherman told a House subcommittee on Foreign Affairs that in order to make sense of the situation in Afghanistan and involve Pakistan in the remedial efforts; one necessary step is the acceptance of the Durand Line by Afghanistan.
 
This statement coming from a harsh critic of Pakistan signifies his understanding of the dynamics at play in the region, as well as respect for national sovereignty. He has pushed the USA to understand that Kabul’s refusal to accept the border demarcated back in 1896 is very unsettling for Pakistan and raises huge security concerns for those handling affairs in Islamabad. And it makes sense, if the border is questioned, how can Pakistan be expected to police it to counter the transit of terrorists?
 
India, at the same time, also strokes the Afghans ego to question Pakistan’s well established and internationally recognised territory. Afghanistan has made a lot of mistakes in this regard. They neither accept the closing of the border nor support the strong security checks to stop infiltration of terrorists. In the same breath, they blame Pakistan for giving “safe havens” to militants. They cannot have it both ways. The Afghans even disrupted the census exercise near Chaman in May 2017 by opening fire at census workers.
 
Respecting another country’s territorial integrity is one of the main steps towards cooperation. The border must be fenced and monitored. Too much has happened since 9/11 to let the border be porous in the name of cultural and ethnic fraternity. If Afghanistan expects to be a stable state in the region, it must accept the modern norms of sovereignty and stateism.
 
The US wants the war in Afghanistan to come to its logical end, and for that, the heart of the matter is that India cannot be part of its policy. Why does the US expect a country that has gone to war with Pakistan multiple times, that constantly keep its borders heated with Pakistan, to want Pakistan and Afghanistan to be at peace?
 
Nation, September 11, 2017

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