Karzai says will never forgo Durand Line claim
The former president was addressing a day-long seminar in Kabul titled “Gandamak – Durand, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” organised by the Afghan Research and Advisory Centre.
Karzai said discussions about the Gandamak and Durand treaties were vital, calling the impacts of these treaties on Afghanistan and the region as painful.
Karzai said the British government and their empire had repeatedly called areas between the Durand Line and the Indus River as part of Afghan territory.
“After Pakistan inherited the land from Britain, efforts to keep these people from education were intensified so that they remain in need and continue their lives through illegal means,” he remarked.
He said Afghanistan did not want war with Pakistan, but would never give up its rights over the Durand Line.
He wanted Afghanistan to gain its rights through civil and peaceful means. “We want a civilised life and in this civilised life, we want freedom for those who are under foreign domination.”
Former Afghan king Amir Abdul Rahman Khan and the British agreed to set up the Durand Line -- named after the foreign secretary of India at the time Sir Mortimer Durand --- in 1893 to divide Afghanistan and what was then British India.
But in 1947 after the creation of Pakistan, the Afghan government did not recognise the line as an international border between the two countries.
Durand Line had been for decades a major bone of contention between the neighboring countries, something still in place. The Afghan government recently directed all its departments to use “Durand Line” instead of “border” or “boundary”
Karzai said Pakistan military had repeatedly asked him for official recognition of the line as border between the two countries, but he refused.
“Our wish is that the Pakistani government and military should not try to reach their goals by killing, destroying and preventing people of Pashtun and Baloch from education because it is not possible. The history has always proved this wrong,” he noted.
Abdul Hamid Mubarez, a historian and journalist, said Pakistan had recently started building military installations near the Duran Line under the pretext of being under pressure from insurgents. He said Pakistan wanted to curtail the freedom of tribes and reaching Hindu Kush was their next goal.
He said Pakistan wanted to have control over Afghanistan’s land and air and if Afghanistan could not defend Durand Line and freedom of tribes, Islamabad without any doubt would materialise this strategy through groups like Daesh and Taliban.
“As opposed to sayings that the keys of Afghanistan’s stability are with Pakistan, I’m of the view the keys are with Kabul. Because Pakistan never wants peace and stability in Afghanistan,” he added.
According to Mubarez, recognition of Durand Line, derailing relations between Kabul and New Delhi, controlling Afghanistan’s foreign policy and Afghanistan’s defeat to terrorism were Pakistan’s main objectives in Afghanistan.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.