On this day November 12, 1893

Afghanistan before the Durand agreement of 1893

Afghanistan before the Durand agreement of 1893

Mortimer Durand, Foreign Secretary of British India, and Abdur Rahman Khan, Amir of Afghanistan, signed the Durand Line Agreement, establishing what is now the international border between Afghanistan and modern-day Pakistan.

Afghanistan’s loya jirga of 1949 declared the Durand Line invalid as they saw it as ex parte on their side (since British India ceased to exist in 1947 with the independence of Pakistan). This had no tangible effect as there has never been a move to enforce such a declaration due to long periods of constant wars with other neighbors in the region. And most importantly, there was no time limit mentioned in the Durand Treaty.

Because the Durand Line artificially divides the Pashtun people, it continues to be a source of tension between the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Frequent press statements from 2005 to 2007 by Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf calling for the building of a fence delineating the Afghanistan/Pakistan border have been met with resistance from numerous political parties within both countries. Leaders of Pashtuns on both sides of the border do not recognize the Durand Line.

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