Monday, April 15, 2024

Pakistan Firmly Asserts Durand Line Sovereignty in Face of Taliban’s Stark Rejection

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Khaama Press
Khaama Press
Khaama Press is the leading news agency of Afghanistan with over 3 million hits a month.

In a vivid manifestation of escalating tensions, Asif Durrani, Pakistan’s special envoy to Afghanistan, has emphatically dismissed the Taliban’s contentious stance on the Durand Line, underscoring Islamabad’s rigid position on the historic border dispute. This sharp exchange marks a significant heightening in the long-standing discord over the demarcation that has been a point of contention between Afghanistan and Pakistan for decades.

Durrani articulated his staunch rebuttal in response to the inflammatory assertions made by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Taliban, who categorically stated Afghanistan’s refusal to recognize the Durand Line as the official boundary. Speaking to Afghanistan International in Doha, Durrani declared, “For Pakistan, the matter of the Durand Line is conclusively settled,” unequivocally affirming the line as the official and internationally recognized border separating the two nations.

This firm declaration from Pakistan is a direct countermeasure to Stanikzai’s provocative remarks during a commemorative event for the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in Logar. Stanikzai criticized the internal divisions among Afghans during the era of Ahmad Shah Durrani as the precursor to British intervention and the subsequent creation of the “imaginary Durand Line,” which, in his view, bisected Afghanistan. He also lambasted Pakistan’s “oppressive” expulsion of Afghan migrants from the border areas, touching on the deep historical grievances and humanitarian issues engendered by the disputed boundary.

Stanikzai’s resolve, as captured in his pronouncement that “We have never recognized Durand in our lifetime and will not recognize it,” reflects a profound and historical rebuke of the boundary, highlighting a source of friction that has marred relations between the two countries for generations. The Taliban’s steadfast rejection of the Durand Line underscores long-standing Afghan sentiments that challenge the foundation of Afghan-Pakistani diplomatic relations.

Previously, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry had labeled the Taliban’s non-recognition of the border as “selfish and baseless.” Durrani’s recent statements to Afghanistan International in Doha further cement Pakistan’s stance, emphasizing the Durand Line’s legitimacy through international law and historical agreements. Pakistan’s unwavering defense of the border line underscores a serious, hardline approach to protecting its sovereignty and territorial integrity against any disputations.

The Durand Line, steeped in British colonial legacy, continues to be a divisive issue, slicing through ethnically Pashtun territories and disrupting communities. Pakistan’s adamant insistence on the legitimacy of this border is driven by considerations of state sovereignty, the regulation of cross-border movement, and the overarching goal of ensuring regional stability amidst contentious debates.

This intense diplomatic exchange between Afghanistan and Pakistan underscores the complex historical and contemporary challenges shaping their bilateral relationship. As rhetoric on both sides escalates, the diplomatic rift widens, amplifying concerns over regional security, cooperation, and the well-being of those living along the disputed border.

The persistent dispute over the Durand Line serves as a stark reminder of the lasting impact of colonial-era demarcations in South Asia, with Afghanistan and Pakistan clinging to their respective narratives. Navigating a path forward requires diplomatic finesse and a dedicated effort to confront the deep-seated issues underlying this division, highlighting the need for a resolution that considers the sensitivities and aspirations of all involved parties.

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