Comment By: Jalil Afridi
Who could have thought that some day Pakistani and Afghan soldiers would be shooting each other down? Not once but on only occasions I have personally asked the US State Department about Durand Line and the answer given by John Kirby, the spokesperson was always that Durand Line is an internationally recognized border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Then why is the Afghan government playing this game and on whose suggestion are they doing this.?
Since last couple of days both Pakistan and Afghanistan has lost the lives of its citizens and security forces due to skirmishes with each other. These incidents have brought tears in eyes of many living across both sides of Durand Line. Two Muslim neighbour countries sharing same culture and language killing each other.
These fights started when Afghan security forces started firing on Pakistani security officials who were conducting census on Pakistani side of the border. Afghan officials claimed that Pakistani officials were conducting census on their side of the border, a claim which does not make sense. Why could Pakistani officials try to hold census on Afghan side when Pakistan has been housing million of illegal Afghan refugess inside Pakistan for more than four decade.
This is all being done on a pretext and notion to get the two brotherly nations get involved in a war which could lead to pure destruction of the whole region.
At a flag staff meeting at Chaman, an Afghan representative wearing civilian clothes was talking in a very rude manner with Pakistani senior officials whereas an Afghan General was sitting right next to him. This was the first time for me seeing a civilian sitting amongst military officials and saying things which were completely out of intenational norms and decorums.
Former President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai is also to be blamed for this border issue between the two countries. He on many occasions had mentioned that he does not accept Durand Line as a permanent border between the two countries. On a personal note, I myself belonging to the tribal area, Khyber Agency which is next to Afghanistan never wish or could think about being part of Afghanistan and neither would anybody from the tribal areas of Pakistan could think or support the idea of being part of Afghanistan. Where has the Afghan government gotten this idea?
It is also very interesting to see the Afghan forces using the same weapons which are given to them by the international community to fight Taliban are being used against Pakistan. An Afghan tribal affairs minister said that Pakistan should not build a wall between the two countries and instead should focus on eliminating the terrorists network in Islamabad. The honorable minister needs to know that most of the terrorists in Pakistan belong to Afghanistan and hundreds of thousands Pakistani have died because of them and millions are still displaced. This is all done because Pakistan let the Afghans take refuge in Pakistan when they had no bread to eat, no house to shelter and no medicine to put on their wounds.
There is no country or citizens of any nation that cares about Afghans more than the Pakistani nation. If the Afghans believe that India would support them in their hard times, they are mistaken. India is only supporting Afghanistan because they have their own interest from Afghanistan and their biggest interest is to equal score with Pakistan and to use Afghanistan for its proxy war with Pakistan.
Pakistan on the other hand should learn a lesson from this experience and declare FATA as a separate province at the earliest otherwise incidents of Chaman like can happen in Landi Kotal, Waiziristan, Mohmand and Bajaur Agency as well. The tribal area of Pakistan can not be experimented with any longer.
Pakistan should also take up this border issue with the international community at the earliest as well. Forums such as the United Nations and embassies of Pakistan around the world should be activated to inform them about the rising tensions with Afghanistan. This matter should be taken very serious and very urgent. At the same time Pakistani security forces should keep vigilant in major cities of Pakistan and keep an eye on Afghans. Thousands of Afghans have acquired Pakistani national ID cards claiming to be Pakistani nationals from the tribal areas. These individuals should be rounded up and their ID cards should be cancelled at the earliest.
Writing these lines and suggestions these steps as a journalist and a Pakhtun deeply hurts me but present times demands these steps should be taken on urgent basis. It has been over three years that Pakistani newspapers are banned in Afghanistan and despite me personally raising this issue with Afghan ambassador to Washington DC and Afghan foreign minister they all told me a lie on my face infront of hundreds of people that Afghanistan has not done such a thing. If they can lie on such a minor thing in scope of so many big issues, how could they be trusted in days to come.
The days on resolving Durand Line issue by sittings between Pakistan and Afghanistan are over. This issue needs to be discussed on international forum now and immediately. American is building wall between them and Mexico. So why can’t Pakistan built a wall between them and Afghanistan. What if Mexico starts saying that Texas and California belongs to them? Will that make sense? No, it will not. Afghanistan should look after what they have and they have plenty if they manage it good. Instead of getting involved in non issues, Afghanistan should built itself and support those who have stood by them in their hard times instead of chopping those hands which hav been feeding them and protecting them.
By raising Duane Line issue the Afghan government will not achieve anything. They should close this chapter once and for all and stop misguiding their people. The US and European countries should get involved in this issue at the earliest to avoid further loss of life and destruction.