During Ghani administration, Pakistan built facilities and gates along the Durand Line, introduced strict visa policy allowing only documented Afghans to cross the Durand Line, and officially merged the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, which historically remained autonomous, into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province. Also in an unprecedented move, Islamabad has recently began to build a fence along the Durand Line. Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Qamar Bajwa said they have started fencing work along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. In his visit to FATA’s Bajawar district, Gen. Bajwa said the barbed wire and fence would be first installed in areas used by militants to easily cross the frontier, announcing that the work has already commenced in Bajawar and Momand Agency.
In an attempt to mend fences with Pakistan, President Ghani even broke diplomatic norms and visited Pakistan’s Army Headquarters. Later on, a clandestine intelligence agreement struck between Kabul and Islamabad was leaked, and even Afghan government was accused to have held discussions with Pakistan over the fate of the Durand Line. Though President Ghani strongly rejected such discussions at that time, the ground realities are unfortunately against his assertions.
Pakistan began the fencing work along the Durand Line, which was imposed on Afghan side by British India and indeed doesn’t have any legitimacy following the expiry of its 100-year validity term in 1993, after the trilateral meeting of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Britain in London. This strengthens the concerns that Afghan government might have reached a secret deal with Pakistan at the meeting because the Durand Line has been imposed on Afghanistan by the British colonial power.
If leaders of the National Unity Government also remain silent over the Pakistan’s fencing work along the Durand Line as about its other provocative actions, or if they have reached a deal with Pakistan in this regard, the people and history will make a decision about them, which they might not have even thought of. The governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan should not forget that it is only the exclusive right of the people on both sides of the Durand Line to decide the fate of Durand Line, and the legitimacy of both governments in the eyes of people is also crystal clear.