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Kabul-Islamabad Should Decide on Durand Line: UK Envoy

(Last Updated On: February 12, 2018)

The British envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Gareth Bayley has stressed that the Durand Line issue should be solved by Islamabad and Kabul.

In an interview with Ariananews, Gareth Bayley supported U.S. financial pressures on Pakistan and noted that the best way for achieving peace and stability is the continuation of talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“The point of pressure is not to apply it simply for the reason of punishment. But ultimately, it is ensuring that there is an end to militancy and a safe future for Afghanistan. We are highly committed to Afghanistan. To the point, the United Kingdom has been very clear that we want to see an Afghan-Pakistan led dialogue which will lead us toward peace,” Bayley said.

The UK special representative has stated that the Durand Line issue has no link with the past colonial power and it is just a problem between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“I think hundred years ago, maybe this question would be more relevant for the United Kingdom. I would offer that there is something about the modern day which should reject that kind of question of a colonial power and the issue of today is that Afghanistan and Pakistan decide together or the border might be and not that a third country imposes its views on the two of them,” he added.

At present, Afghanistan does not officially recognize the international border with Pakistan. Instead, it has territorial claims on areas stretching from the Afghan-Pakistan border to the Indus River, all told comprising nearly 60 percent of Pakistani territory.

This border dispute has its roots in the nineteenth century, when Pakistan was part of India and India was a British colony.

The British imposed the 2640 km borderline on the Amir of Afghanistan in 1893 in a bid to strengthen the former’s control over the northern parts of India.

The agreement was signed between Sir Mortimer Durand, the Indian Foreign Secretary at the time, and Amir Abdur Rahman Khan in Kabul.

The line is thus known as the Durand Line, and runs through Pashtun territory.

According to the Durand Line agreement, Afghanistan relinquished a few districts, including Swat, Chitral and Chageh, although it gained other areas, Nuristan and Asmar, for instance, which it had historically not controlled.

The agreement, at least on paper, for the first time demarcated where the Indo-Afghan border started and ended.

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