Durand line | Afganistan Pakistan | Length | Conflict

What is Conflict Between Afganistan and Pakistan For Durand Line

Afghanistan and Pakistan relations have been strained since 1947. The reason is the perception of the Durand Line. The British established it in 1893, which Afghanistan has refused to accept as the border. 

In September 1947 due to its rejection of the Durand Line Afghanistan even opposed the entry of Pakistan into the United Nations. Afghanistan rejected the line as it believed that the British imposed the line.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan

In 1947, not only Afghanistan wanted to undo the line but they also wanted Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Pashtunistan or KP region) and Balochistan as part of Afghanistan, both of which were forcibly incorporated by Pakistan. Though Pakistan accepts the Durand Line as the border, Afghanistan has rejected it, making Pakistan insecure as it feels that Afghanistan can resort design to seek the territory back one day. 

For a long, Pakistan has aimed to make Durand Line as the border and make Afghanistan accept the same, but Pakistan has met constant failure to do so, even with no success when the Taliban (which was created by Pakistan) remained in power from 1996 to 2001. 

Durand Line Map And Length

Afganistan Pakistan :Domination over Durand line | durand line
Durand line

Since 2001, Pakistan has followed a two-point strategy. Firstly, it favors a weak and not a strong government in Afghanistan. The Pakistani assumption is that such a weak government in Afghanistan can never resort to a revanchist design against Pakistan and seek Khyber Pakhtun or Baluchistan bark for Afghanistan.

Secondly, Pakistan does not favor a strong India-Afghanistan relation as it fears that a strong Afghanistan and India relationship will encourage Afghanistan to resort to a revanchist design again. This is why Pakistan maintains a strategic depth against India in Afghanistan. 


While trying to achieve the two stated objectives, Pakistan has committed many blunders. During the Cold War, they perceived Afghans as Soviet stooges and insufficient Muslims for their deflection towards the Soviets. Today, Pakistan perceives them as Indian stooges. As the state of Pakistan has never looked at Afghanistan as a land of ethnic Afghan people, it has generated tremendous hatred among the local Afghans against Pakistan. 

Pakistan still hopes to achieve a pro-Pakistan government in Afghanistan as such a government is a guarantee against the revanchist designs, keeps India away from Afghanistan, and also provides a fertile ground for Pakistan to channelize their madrassa products to train them for Jihad.


Pakistan has followed a policy of arming and supporting dissidents in Afghanistan who are opposed to the West-sponsored democratic government in Afghanistan since 2001. As Pakistan has understood, over a period of time, that they cannot forcibly bring the Taliban (Pakistan trump card) into Afghanistan, they have adopted the tactic of bringing the Taliban as a political player in the future of Afghanistan.

     Zalmay Khalilzad after Taliban deal in Doha

The recent troop withdrawal by the US in Afghanistan announced by Trump and negotiations with the Taliban led by Zalmay Khalilzad is an attempt by Pakistan to politically accommodate the Taliban in Afghanistan after the US leaves Afghanistan.  ( US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar sign a peace agreement in Doha) But Pakistan fails to understand that even if the Taliban comes to power again in Afghanistan, it will be a threat to Pakistan itself, as it will try to impose its own version of Islam, which will threaten Pakistan, as Pakistan does not have a strong Islamic identity. 

Also, the Taliban is to reassert the demand for Pashtunistan, which will be the nemesis for Pakistan. If the Taliban come it will only lead to the Talibanisation of Pakistan, which will not only be detrimental for its own future, dental its own future but will also reverse the strategic depth policy Pakistan practices. 


At one place Pakistan itself is a revanchist state that wants territorial boundaries in Kashmir. On the other hand, it is itself a victim of a larger revanchist design by Afghanistan where it may lose a substantial territory. This is a conundrum that Pakistan will continue to face in its future. Pakistan is unable to learn from history that no one can subjugate the afghans. The British (after The Great Game), the USSR (during the Cold War), and the US (in its Global War on Terror- realized that Afghanistan was their twenty-first century Vietnam) have learned, minus Pakistan, which still hopes that a pro-Pakistan government in Afghanistan will toe the line to Pakistan. This s nothing but an unreality.


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