Table Afghan and Pashtun tended to be used

Table of Contents: Title: Pak-Afghan Border Dispute 1. Introduction2. Background of Durand line3. Individualities of Durand Line 4. Who Wants What and Why  5. People of the Frontline 6. The International Perspective 7. Moving Forward 8. Conclusion9. ReferencesPak-Afghan Border Dispute1. IntroductionOne of the world’s longest border lines is Durand Line (2,430 km) international border among Pakistan and Afghanistan. It was acknowledged in 1896 between Sir Mortimer Durand and Abdul Rahman Khan to solve the limit of their individual spheres of influence and improve diplomatic relations and trade.2. Background of Durand lineDurand line idea came in 1893 by Sir Mortimer Durand, the foreign secretary of the British colonial government of India, persuaded Abdur Rahman, the amir of Afghanistan, to accept a line of demarcation between Afghanistan and British India in return for a subsidy.  This line which ultimately extended 1,519 miles, had the instant impact of removing from Afghan control a number of small territories historically administered by its amirs. More significant, it arbitrarily divided the Pashtun inhabitants of the region between British India and Afghanistan.  As an ethnic group, the Pashtuns inhabited a wide range of territory from the Peshawar Valley to Kabul in the east and from Qandahar and the Helmand Valley to Quetta in the south.  Because Pashtuns had been the dominant ethnic group in Afghanistan since the mid-eighteenth century. Undeniably the rapports Afghan and Pashtun tended to be used interchangeably during the 19th century.  Because of long established connections among the various regional Pashtun populations, the Afghans viewed their division by the Durand Line as illegal.  It was when Afghanistan became fully independent in 1919, it accepted the line as its de facto border with British India.  But Kabul invigorated its earlier and more fundamental objections to the line’s legitimacy when Pakistan came into existence in 1947.  Afghanistan’s most radical objection was that the Pashtun regions should not have had to choose between joining India or Pakistan, but should have been offered the additional options of becoming an independent state or joining with Afghanistan.  Afghan leaders also contended that the various agreements between British India and Afghanistan including the Durand Line lapsed when the British left South Asia and were not transferable to the new state of Pakistan. Even if Pakistan were deemed a legal successor state, the Afghans contended, the Durand Line remained illegitimate because they had been coerced by the British into accepting the agreement.  Although they might have agreed on nothing else, since that time successive Afghan regimes in Kabul (monarchists, republicans, communists, Islamist, and democrats) have all maintained the policy of declining to grant de jure recognition to the existing border with Pakistan souring relations with that country for the past sixty years.  Pakistan has been less than forthcoming in dealing with the problems associated with a frontier population in its own territory that it has never been brought under direct state control and that refuses to accept the legitimacy of a border that divides local communities.  Durand Line is far more apparent on printed maps than it is on the ground since local populations have never paid much attention to it.  It runs through a rugged and arid mountainous region occupied by subsistence farmers living in dispersed villages. People cross the border at will and do not treat it as a boundary.  This is hardly surprising since it is poorly demarcated in most places, and not demarcated at all in others.  Because state authority has always been weak to non-existent in the area of the line, no one ever policed the border. Both Afghanistan and British India instead used indirect forms of rule that relied on Malik’s, or tribal elders to settle problems and to guarantee security by means of armed local militiasIn place of this reason the dispute between Afghanistan and Pakistan over the status of the border was largely hypothetical and had little or no impact on the local population.  Both sides worried about the ability of the other to stir up trouble in the region, but such crises tended to be episodic rather than endemic.  When it came to provincial administration, trade, and establishing formal border crossings, Afghanistan’s actions gave the line de facto recognition.  Indeed, the line served to generate revenue since it became a center for marketing smuggled goods into Pakistan.  The situation changed dramatically in 2001 when the US toppled the Taliban in Afghanistan and demanded that Pakistan take responsibility for dealing with Islamist groups who had fled into their territory.  With American troops based in Afghanistan’s border areas, the question of where the border was and Pakistan’s responsibilities for maintaining order in its own territories has acquired international significance.  The old political compromises that left the frontier region unpoliced and ungoverned by Pakistan’s national government now facilitated the emergence of violent jihadists that sought to topple governments in both Kabul and Islamabad3. Individualities of Durand Line If Tolstoy was writing about international border disputes, he might have remarked that all happy boundaries are alike while each unhappy boundary is problematic in its own way.  The Durand Line has been more problematic than most because of the nature of the frontier between Afghanistan and the British Raj at the time it was levied.Dissimilar Afghanistan’s international boundaries with Russia in the north or Iran in the west that were renowned as such by all parties at the time the status of the Durand Line remained unclear.  This is because the British viewed their negotiations with the Afghans as an internal colonial issue rather than as an international one.  The Durand Line signified the outermost limit of British control, separating its territories from those areas under the authority of the amirs of Afghanistan.  On this basis the Afghans have always claimed that the agreement never constituted a formal border, but rather an agreed-upon frontier between them and the British.  At the time this was a distinction without much meaning in practical terms. But whether the line constitutes a boundary or a frontier still lies at the heart of the continued legal differences between Pakistan and Afghanistan on the matter.  There is a difference between a boundary and a frontier.  An international boundary marks a separation (natural or artificial) between two contiguous states.  A frontier is the portion of a territory that faces the border of another country, including both the boundary line itself and the land contiguous to it.  The historic Afghan position is that the formal boundary to this frontier has yet to be set.  Just where it should be set has never been stated explicitly.  Supporters of Pashtun ethnic unity who see the Afghan nation asextending well beyond Afghanistan itself set their boundary at the Indus River to create a Pashtunistan an ethnic Pashtun state carved out of Pakistan’s territory that might or might not be merged with Afghanistan.  Others would draw the boundary at the limits of the settled zones of the NWFP since the Frontier Agencies were never directly administered by the British.  Supporters of this view note that the residents of the frontier straddling the Durand Line have never treated it as a legal border and cross it freely without restriction or hindrance.  Pakistan has always taken the position that the Durand Line is a formal international boundary and that whether or not it constitutes a frontier is moot since as a beneficiary state to the British Raj, it claims legal title to the lands up to the line.  As of Pakistan’s point of view, the issue is not open to negotiation, even though Pakistan, like the British, never succeeded in establishing direct state administrative authority in the old Tribal Agencies, now renamed the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA).   These included the seven semi-autonomous agencies previously created by the British (Bajaur, Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand, Orakzai, South Waziristan, and North Waziristan) as well as the NWFP tribal areas adjoining Peshawar (Kohat, Bannu, and Dera Ismail Khan).It is the anomalous status of the FATA region that makes the boundary question so difficult to solve.National Pakistani law does not apply in these territories and the central government has only subsidiary control over its people.  Men proudly and publicly bear arms, sell untaxed trafficked goods in public bazaars, and make and sell weapons.  They have ignored Islamabad’s demands to stop providing preserve for local and foreign jihadists seeking to topple the governments in Kabul and in Islamabad and plotting acts of international terrorism.  In most frontier disputes there is no room for autonomous non-state actors the recognition of a state’s legal title to a land assumes it has both the will and the ability to exert its authority over it.  Here we have a situation in which a putative international boundary abuts a territory over which a state claims de jure title but does not exert de facto authority over the people who live there.  Further down these conditions, quarreling about the historical basis of the dispute or what each party intended at the time has little current relevance.   The agreement was made at a time when European powers created buffer states and scopes of influence that ensured that their respective colonial empires never shared a common border. The disputes that would arise from questioning and disputing these boundaries would be never-ending, threatening the stability of the world’s existing nation-state structure.  While the Durand Line is arbitrary and divides a common ethnic group, these features are hardly unique. Nor is the dispute eventually a legal one.  Even if the government of Pakistan or Afghanistan were to overcome in some international tribunal, neither nation would be able to enforce such a judgment without the active cooperation of the other and the compliance of the people who live in the border section. 4.  Who Wants What and WhyConsidering at the positions of the different stakeholders the conference concluded the following: A. Pakistan’s concern with regard to the Durand Line is to maintain the status quo.B. Afghanistan’s objectives and desires for the line are unclear and lack uniformity, although the inconsistent actions of the Afghan state have constituted a de facto recognition of the border.  Such actions began with Afghanistan’s acceptance of annual subsidy payments in exchange for signing the Durand Agreement.  Despite its objection to the border, Afghanistan has treated it as an international boundary when dealing with international travelers and transit trade.   C. The local residents of the frontier are content to see the border issue remain unsettled because it makes it easier for them to reject state authority of all types.  Such ungoverned territories are also attractive to foreign Islamist radicals who need a safe haven where they can base themselves beyond the reach of state authorities.  D. The international community, through its actions in the Global War on Terror has executed a de facto recognition of the border.  The United States inculcates its troops not to cross into Pakistan, even in hot pursuit of armed insurgents, and gives deference to Pakistani assertions of sovereignty even in regions beyond Islamabad’s control.  5. People of the Frontline Accomplices agreed that the status of the FATA region and its people constitutes a core issue that hangs over the binational aspects of the Durand Line.  The main elements include the political status of the FATA region and its people, their historic disregard for the boundary, and their ties to the broader world.  Depicting the Durand Line began a process that resulted in an unusual system of administration in which the peoples on the British side of the line retained stateless autonomy within an imperial system that declared sovereignty over their lands.  The British system maintained this indirect control by appointing clan leaders as chiefs of their local communities under the supervision of British tribal representatives.  At what time Pakistan became independent, it chose to maintain the irregular status of the FATA region rather than to incorporate its people into the new state with the same rights and responsibilities as other Pakistani citizens. As a result even today Pakistan cites the Frontier Crimes Regulations as its legal justification for imposing collective punishments that apply not only to residents within FATA but also to members of their tribes living outside it. In addition, Pakistan maintains the same system of tribal agencies and indirect rule established by the British.  This makes it very difficult for Pakistan to deal with the border question without first tackling its internal administration of the frontierOn behalf of the people who live along it, the Durand Line has never constituted an international border.  They act as if it does not exist, crossing freely from one side to another as they please wherever they please, in part because in many places the line’s location is only vaguely known. There are villages located in Pakistan that have their farmland in Afghanistan and vice versa.  Governments recognize this fact by not demanding papers from local people even at formal bolder crossings.  In this regard, one participant familiar with police issues noted that about half the population of the Pakistani border town of Chaman on the road to Qandahar crosses the border daily into Afghanistan.  The other major changes were political: the rising importance of religious leaders and parties coupled with a significant increase in foreign money and influence that competes directly with Islamabad for control and influence.  This changed when subsidies began to be funneled to religious leaders and Islamist political parties during the anti-Soviet war and has continued with Pakistan’s support of the Taliban.  This diluted the traditional authority of the clan leaders that the British and Pakistanis had historically used as their agents for dealing with local societies.  In the process Islamic identity began to supersede tribal differences and make them less relevant. In the era following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the international financial support that Al Qaeda and the Taliban have received from the Arab world, particularly from Islamists in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, has allowed these groups to set their own agenda and has made them rivals to Islamabad for influence in FATA. Such foreign influences mean that security is a global issue.  Relations between these foreign groups and local Pashtuns vary considerably. Uzbeks buying land in Waziristan recently appear to have alienated their Pashtun hosts and provoked conflict, but many Arab and Chechen groups have integrated themselves into Pashtun society.6. The International Perspective No other state has accepted Afghanistan’s position that it is not such a border.  The reason is that since September 11, 2001 FATA has been viewed as a site of global insecurity that can be controlled only when Pakistan takes responsibility for its territory and extends the structures of the state into the region, particularly through expanding openings for economic development and education in the FATA region.This is quite difficult because the security situation is currently poor, which makes launching large growth projects there difficult.  The Durand Line also exacerbates the problem because it prevents such development from occurring simultaneously in FATA and in neighboring Afghan provinces.Driven the Taliban and Al Qaeda from Afghanistan, the United States and its allies are particularly keen to end FATA’s ability to serve as center of Islamic radicalism that promotes international terrorism and seeks to destabilize Afghanistan.  The presence of U.S, NATO, and Afghan combat troops along the Durand Line gives the border issue some practical urgency as well since the insurgents they fight retreat back into Pakistan in the belief that they will not be pursued or attacked across an international boundary.  As of the perspective of the international community, dialogs between Pakistan and Afghanistan can resolve the problems between them only if they tackle them as a set of interrelated issues.  Discussions limited to recognition of the Durand Line as a de jure international boundary would not bring stability in the region even if they prospered. No government in Afghanistan would be willing to pay the political price for accepting the border unless such an agreement were part of a broader package designed to make the country more secure.  At a minimum, such a package would include trade, security, and non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs. In particular, as a landlocked country, Afghanistan has long-standing concerns about its access to trade through the port of Karachi and obstacles to its transit trade with India.  Nevertheless Pakistan also has much to gain from broader discussions. Pakistan’s economy and tax base is distorted by the billions of dollars in goods smuggled into the country through Afghanistan. The drug trade also transits the region. An agreement on trade with Afghanistan would be the only way to begin getting control over this problem. Pakistan also has its own security concerns that could be addressed, such as the fear that India may attempt to use Afghanistan as a base to circle it. Afghanistan is concerned about Pakistan’s support of the Taliban, in times past it has been Pakistan that has been concerned about Afghanistan’s tacit support of Pashtun and Baluch separatists that a hostile Afghan government could harbor.  It would be in the interests of both countries to cooperate and to expel foreign elements in the region that threaten the security of both countries. Given the high level of distrust between the two countries, the international community must take the lead in bringing them together and in guaranteeing the implementation of the results.  The international community is also needed to strengthen regional security.  As noted earlier, the conference concluded that only a soft border solution would work in a region where local people have historically had right of free passage.  But it was also observed that soft boundaries require strong states to maintain them. That is, to make its interior borders invisible locally (such as European Union borders are), cooperating states must maintain harder external borders through effective regional security cooperation. If the Durand Line was not a disputed boundary between two antagonistic states but rather the center of a regional cooperation scheme that enforced similar levels of authority on both sides of the frontier and cooperated in preventing activities hostile to each other.  This is particularly important for Afghanistan because it lacks the economic capacity to provide for its own internal security without massive foreign supports.  In order for Afghanistan to sustain a smaller military without a subsidy or foreign presence, it will require a reduction in the regional threat environment that only such a cooperative agreement with Pakistan could bring about.  Specifically, it needs Pakistan to end its covert support of the Taliban and to stop its territory from being used as a base for attacks on Afghanistan.  Some Accomplices suggested that Pakistan may be manipulating the situation in the FATA region to achieve a continued strategic relationship with the United States that provides it with military and financial assistance.  It was noted that the United States ended its aid to Pakistan soon after the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan and resumed aid only after it returned to dislodge Al Qaeda from Afghanistan after the attacks of September 11, 20017. Moving Forward It is in the interest of both countries to reduce the current tensions between them and to seek settlement of the broad range of issues that divide them.  A successful solution will also require the consideration of the needs of, and participation from, the people who actually live in the border regions.  Because neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan has displayed the will or the capacity to move toward a quick resolution of the border question, the process should begin with confidence-building measures that would be easier to achieve and would at least reduce tensions.  At a minimum, these would include the end of the reflexive resort to hostile rhetoric that each government directs at the other. Some suggest that a series of Track II dialogues would be the best next phase. Smaller-step measures were therefore recommended as most practical and as providing a better starting point.  These could include discussions on easing conditions for trade and transport, creating a commission to consult the border communities, and forging closer security ties on problems of common interest. The peace jirga held by the Afghans and Pakistanis in Kabul in August 2007 offers a beginning to such a forum. This framework would involve the following: 1. At least tacit, that the Durand Line has served as an internationally recognized border for more than a century, whatever the ‘truth’ of its past status.  Debates on the history of the agreement and its status during numerous historic eras have impeded rather than facilitated a settlement.  While some changes might be required and subject to land swaps, any resulting border is likely to follow the current line very closely and will not result in wholesale transfer of authority.  2.  As of the existing cross-border ethnic ties and difficult topography of the region, any agreement would have to recognize the rights of the local population to cross the border freely as they do today.   For such a soft border to be truly practical, however, Afghanistan and Pakistan must demonstrate their ability to control their respective territories.  The current lack of governance in these territories is unsustainable.  This requires Pakistan to regularize the political status of the FATA region and Afghanistan to respect the choices of the people in Pakistan.  3.  All parties, including international ones, should seek to devise and implement border-related confidence building processes between Afghanistan and Pakistan, including trade, transit rights, and security measures that reduce the level of struggle between the two countries and provide benefits to both. 4. The American government and its allies must be willing to take the initiative in bringing the parties together and provide the political incentives needed to help maintain progress once they have started the process.  Pakistan needs assurances from Afghanistan that it will not contribute to Pakistan’s security problems (particularly in Afghanistan’s relationships with India).  Afghanistan needs free access to ports, particularly Karachi’s, help with its economic security, and an end to Pakistan’s interfering in its domestic politics.  5. Where political outcomes depend so much on insight, demonstrating concrete progress will be the key to any successful outcome. International long-term security guarantees and a considerable aid package that benefits both Pakistan and Afghanistan may be essential to achieve these objectives.  .9. References