Vienna: Pakistan is facing an emerging security situation in its border provinces and an assertive Afghan Taliban, which is unwilling to accept any ‘one-sided’ change in the status quo ante on the Durand Line issue.
Border tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan are reaching an unprecedented level after recent incidents of violence along the so-called ‘Durand Line,’ reported Voice of Vienna.
On November 13, an armed man allegedly from the Afghan side opened fire on Pakistani security personnel at the Chaman/Spin Boldak border crossing – known as ‘Friendship Gate’ – resulting in the death of one Frontier Corps soldier and injured two others.
Consequently, Pakistan closed all business and trade activities at the Chaman border for over a week causing a humanitarian crisis for the Pashtun population living on both sides of the border, reported Voice of Vienna.
After multiple flag meetings between the Taliban and Pakistani officials, the authorities reopened the border crossing on November 21.
One year after the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, border clashes between Afghanistan and Pakistan have increased manifold with no thaw in sight anytime soon, reported Voice of Vienna.
In another border incident, seven people, including two children, were injured following alleged “firing from across the Afghan border” in Kharlachi and Borki near Kurram border.
In a statement shared on Twitter, Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sajid Hussain Turi said on November 20, “Afghanistan’s violation of Pakistan’s Kurram border at Kharlachi and Borki and targeting the civilian population is condemnable.”
On social media websites, pro-Taliban accounts shared ‘unverified’ videos of the Taliban fighters destroying pillars of barbed wire, installed by Pakistan, in the Dand-e-Patan district of Afghanistan’s Paktia province, reported Voice of Vienna.
It is noteworthy that the Dand-e-Patan district has seen violent clashes between the Taliban fighters and Pakistan’s border security forces in September this year. The main reason for recurring border clashes is Pakistan’s one-sided and ‘illegitimate’ border fencing activities.
On several occasions, the Taliban border forces have complained about Pakistan’s illegal attempts to capture the Afghan land on the pretext of fencing the Durand Line. Therefore, it leaves no choice for the Taliban but to use force against Pakistan’s security forces.
Such incidents have increased insecurities in Islamabad, which fears that the unresolved border issue may jeopardise its ties with the Taliban, reported Voice of Vienna.
Pakistan is going through an unprecedented economic crisis. Adding to that, the persistent political instability has only worsened the domestic situation.
Moreover, the Pashtun population on both sides of the border does not accept the legitimacy of the Durand Line. For them, the famous Pashto slogan “Lar o bar, Yaw Afghan [Low (lowlands of Pakistan) or high (highlands of Afghanistan), Afghans are one]” is the ultimate objective.
The slogan points to one direction: the ultimate destiny of the Lar and Bar is ‘unification’ in one state to be built on the ashes of the state of Pakistan.
People on both sides of the Durand Line speak the same language, Pashto, in its various dialects. They share important cultural traits, and historical familial ties, and wholeheartedly respect the Pashtunwali code.
For them, Pakistan’s aggressive fencing of a ‘non-existent’ border is a direct attack on the Pashtun sovereignty. As a result, even the Pakistan-backed Taliban government is showing no signs of accepting the Durand Line and is ready to defend it with force, reported Voice of Vienna.