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It is a 2430 kilometers long border
that was established between British India and Afghanistan by Mortimer Durand
and Afghan Amir Abdur Rehman Khan in 1893. It was named after the British
foreign secretary Sir Mortimer Durand, who signed the agreement (one page long)
with Amir Abdur Rehman Khan.

In 1880’s Afghan Amir demanded for
clear borders with British India, the British government also wanted to have
clear and defined borders because the Russians were expanding towards Central
Asia. So, they wanted to have their areas cleared from the Amir’s influence. As
the Durand Line was the reason of tension first between British India and
Afghanistan and later between Pakistan and Afghanistan after 1947, So a
well-defined border was the best solution at that time.

In Oct 1890, Amir Abdur Rehman Khan
wrote a letter to viceroy, Lord Dufferin, to send a mission for the settlement
of the border issues but he didn’t respond. The Amir again wrote a letter, this
time to the secretary state of India and he wrote a letter to the new Viceroy,
Lord Lansdowne, requesting him for a mission to resolve the issue. After
receiving the letter Lord Lansdowne formed a mission, led by Lord Roberts and
sent to Kabul. The Amir had some issues with Lord Roberts and he tried to
postpone the arrival of mission and he succeeded in doing so.

When Lord Roberts retired, Amir invited
the mission and asked British government to provide a map which would define
the boundaries between Afghanistan and British India. The maps sent by Viceroy
didn’t include the territories of Waziristan, New Chaman, Chagai, Buland Khel,
Mohmand, Asmar and Chitral in the State of Afghanistan. Amir then wrote a
letter to Viceroy stating that if you occupy this land forcefully, you will
face huge troubles in future because you can keep them quiet t with power but
when someone attacks you then they will be against you and will be your worst

However, the British Government
dismissed Abdur Rehman’s warnings and occupied certain frontier tribal areas
like Buland Khel and Wan Zhob. When tension arose Sir Henry Mortimer Durand led a mission from Peshawar on 19 Sept
1893 and reached Kabul on 2 Oct. The final agreement was signed on 12 Nov 1893
by Amir Abdur Rehman Khan and Mortimer Durand, that is known as the Durand Line Agreement.

13 Nov 1893 Amir Abdur Rehman Khan invited a Durbar in which he invited leaders
of the Afghan tribes. He explained the terms and conditions of the agreement.  He also thanked Mortimer Durand and members of
the mission showing his full satisfaction over the agreement.

Another controversy over the Durand
Line arose after the death of Amir Abdur Rehman on 1 oct, 1901 and his son
Habib Ullah Khan became the new Amir. British government didn’t pay Habib Ullah
the subsidy that was being paid to his father because the British government
said that the deal with Amir Abdur Rehman was a personal one. Habib Ullah
questioned that: “If the deal was personal then it would mean that the Duran
Line agreement stands invalid”

Finally, on 21 March 1905, a new
agreement was signed by the both sides. Habib Ullah claimed full rights over
Bohai Dag and parts of Mohmand territory. Eventually request of Habib Ullah was
denied and issues over Durand Line remained unsolved.

On May 1919, the new Amir Aman Ullah
Khan imposed 3rd Anglo-Afghan war to take control over its own
foreign policy and to re-establish afghan former borders with India. The war
was between the weak afghan force and exhausted British Indian force. The war
ended on 3rd June 1919 due to a treaty signed on 8th
August 1919 at Rawalpindi by two missions of Afghanistan and British India.  The signed agreement contained three
important points:

From the day of agreement (8th August 1919), all
the agreement would be considered as between the two countries Afghanistan and
British government, All the previous Agreements were considered as personal
between British India and Amir’s.

British accepted the Durand Line agreement with small amendments
while Afghanistan asserted remarkable change

A letter was attached with the treaty on 1919 that was
written by Chief British Representative at Indo-Afghan peace conference to
Chief Afghan Representative which state

“The said treaty and this letter
leave Afghanistan officially free and independent in its internal and external
affairs. Moreover, this war has cancelled all previous treaties.”

The Afghanistan again challenged the
Durand Line on 3rd June 1947 when Pakistan was announced
independent. They started independent Pashtunistan movement for independent
Northwest Territories on Durand Line, Afghan King Zahir Shah sent Afghan tribal
assembly on 26 July which showed its full support for the independence of
tribal areas from Pakistan.

After 1947 till now, No Afghan
government had recognized the Durand Line. The two important Afghan leaders
Burhan Uddin Rabbani and Ahmad Shah Masoud also refused to accept Durand Line.
Pakistan supported Taliban to establish their control 90% of Afghan territories
by 1996 and they formed Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. However, Taliban also
refused to recognize the Durand Line as Afghan-Pak border.


Afghanistan is the shortest route
from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean. Persian conqueror Darius took this route
in 516 BC and Alexander in 326 BC followed by Muslim armies of Qutayabs ibn
Muslim, Mahmoud Ghazni, M. Ghori and Mongol Genghis Khan. British wanted to
take control of the strategic Khyber Pass, in 1893, Great Britain dispatched a
British diplomat, Mortimer Durand, to define a border between Afghanistan and
British India.

The agreement signed resulted in the
loss of province of Baluchistan to British India, denying Afghanistan of its
historic access to the Arabian sea. It also ensured that there would be a thin
strip of Afghanistan running to Chinese border that is separating Russia from
British India. The Durand Line has become a principle issue in the foreign
policy of Afghanistan and is the heart of the Afghan-Pakistan international

Afghanistan claims his rights over
the territories lay between the line and Indus river that is 60 % of Pakistan.
The Durand line is of very much importance. Over the last decades thousands of
terrorists have crossed Durand Line from Pakistan and killed large number of
Afghans. Afghanistan loses a large revenue due to people that cross border
without visa avoiding taxes. Tons of illegal goods are smuggled annually across
the Durand Line.


The Durand Line is 2430 kilometers
long border between Pakistan and Afghanistan from which 1268 km of borderland
from Domandi to Malik Koh Siah is inhabited by Pashtuns and Balochis. 670 km
from Domandi to Sarlet is inhabited by Pashtons and 598 km from Chagai to Malik
Koh Siah is inhabited by Balochis.

The Durand Line on Pakistan side is
attached with KPK, FATA and Baluchistan and on Afghanistan there and nine
provinces namely Badakhshan, Nuristan, Kunar, Nangarhar, Paktia, Khost,
Paktika, Zabol and Kandahar. The Durand line produces two ethnic groups that at
Pashtuns and Balochis.

There are also multiple security
issues due to the unclear border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. A statistical
report shows that Afghanistan has face 4,171 terror attacks while Pakistan
suffered 2,586 incidents in 2009. Despite that Pakistan and Afghanistan share
common cultural, ethnic and religious values. The trade annual between Pakistan
and Afghanistan is 1 billion dollars.


Some recent past attacks in the
border region highlighted the fact that there should be an increased border
management. For more than 100 years all the Afghan governments have refused to
accept the Durand Line. Afghanistan is suffering from several internal issues
and so as Pakistan. The issue of Durand Line has been put aside by both the
countries and by international community.

A fact is that the Pak-Afghan border
is mainly controlled by some extremist groups among those are Afghan Taliban,
Al Qaeda, Taliban Pakistan, Haqqani Network and many others causing huge
security issues for both countries. Without any substantial border illegal narcotics
are smuggled easily cross the Durand Line

The international community has
remained neutral through the Durand Line issue. Now this is the time for them
to support border recognition process. As solution of this issue will bring
trust in Afghan-Pak relations. Although it would not solve all the bilateral
problems between the two countries but a resolution could help in creating a
peaceful and brotherly environment between the two Islamic countries.








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