The Durant Line is the new bone of contention between neighbors Afghanistan and Pakistan. It was a mutual settlement between the nations in order to create a sense of peace between two Pashtun tribal lands. Since its inception, Pakistan has had trouble with its neighbor Afghanistan.
Off late, Pakistan has been trying to build a fence and establish some kind of policing posts near the Durant Line. As both nations have never seen eye-to-eye on the existence of the line, their geopolitical chemistry is in the doldrums.
After the intervention of the British Empire in 1893, Afghanistan lost its control over Baluchistan and the Arabian Sea. But the former sent Sir Mortimer Durand who created an imaginary Durant Line to bring some bit of stability between the emerging nations. Since then, both Pashtun descendants have had trouble with each other.
Right now, Afghanistan’s security is in jeopardy. For one, the nation is already in a war spanning two decades. Wasteful use of energy and money, the internal conflict of the Taliban has resulted in nothingness. While Pakistan on its part is trying to establish its own stronghold, by demarcating chunks of land, Afghanistan is feeling insecure.
The line had started to be fenced in 2014, and now stands 90 percent complete despite the objections raised by Afghanistan. For one, the trespassing of guerilla fighters has stopped. Earlier, it was a freeway for families, traders, and guerilla fighters too. But this fictitious ‘de-facto’ line was of great use to all those families where members went to and fro for business and earn a living. Since 2017, gradual fencing has led to the well of the Afghani side grow dry.
Pakistan military systematically started erecting pairs of 3-meter-high metal fences topped with razor wire along the entire border. It closed scores of informal crossings and limited cross-border travel to 16 official posts.
While Afghanistan might have its reasons to feel the fencing is burning a hole in their pockets, Pakistan has had security reasons to ensure they do not erect the fence.
Tension remains high both sides, while Afghanistan is not confrontative.
It has suffered a lot under the attack of military forces and then extremists groups like the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, functioning closer to the line.
On the flip side, Pakistan says it has clamped down on homegrown militants waging war in Pakistan. But in reality, Islamabad might have been backing other Pakistan-based Afghan and Kashmiri militants as proxy forces in Afghanistan and India.