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Af-Pak - Destined For Conflict

Discussion in 'Strategic & Foreign Affairs' started by Asfandyar Bhittani, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. Asfandyar Bhittani

    Asfandyar Bhittani PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Af-Pak – Destined for conflict

    by Asfandyar Bhittani | Published on January 4, 2017

    No, Not all out war, yet, but war nonetheless. The proxy war and the war of rhetoric. Pakistan and Afghanistan are among the very few countries that hate each other while sharing the same religion, both being Islamic republics and big chunks of their respective populations sharing the same heritage, Yet we couldn’t be further apart. Like other countries, what we share doesn’t unite but actually divides us.

    The Problem

    For most Af-Pak commentators, the history and the problems or interference start at 1979 and they consider Mujahideen and afghan Taliban the problem. But Afghan Taliban aren’t the problem or even the Pakistani Taliban, or Daud Khan’s Invasion Of Bajaur In 1960-61, or his support for racial militants in Pakistan in the 1970s or Bhutto’s support for Massoud and Haqqani or Zia’s Support for mujahideen. None of them are problems for they all are PRODUCTS of the same problem, which is the day of July 26, 1949, when the Afghan Loya Jirga unrecognised the Durand line and unilaterally declared Durand line agreement void.

    Afghan Viewpoints & Legitimacy of Durand Line
    There are many arguments Afghanistan and its leaders have made but some of them have been the centerpiece or their narrative.

    The biggest argument the Afghan side made is that “The agreement had a 100-year expiry date” This claim is totally false. The expiry date myth has its roots in ‘Second Convention of Peking’ of 1898 Between Qing dynasty of China & UK, where a 99 years clause was written in the agreement, There is no mention of any time frame in the Durand line agreement. There is also a contradiction in this narrative and Afghan government actions. If the agreement was to expire after 100 years, in 1993, why declare it void in 1949?

    Afghanistan answer to this question is that “The Agreement was between Afghanistan & British India (British raj), not Pakistan, and with the end of British Raj, Afghanistan declared it void” This argument is technically incorrect. Afghanistan declared it void TWO YEARS AFTER the end of British Raj and formation of a Pakistani successor state which inherited the Durand Line agreement and Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect of Treaties (VCSSRT) backs the Pakistani argument on the inheritance of the agreement.

    One argument Afghanistan makes is that “It was signed by Amir Abdur Rahman Khan under duress, without consulting his government” But considering that the successive Afghan regimes ratified the agreement in 1905, 1919 & 1921, the “duress” narrative falls apart.

    The third argument that Afghan politicians make is that “The border divides the Pashtun population in two.” But this argument is a two-edged sword, their own purposed Indus river border would also divide Pashtuns in two. Today there are more Pashtuns in Karachi than in Peshawar, let alone Kabul. Many others live in Rawalpindi, Lahore or like me, in Islamabad.
    Another argument includes equating Durand line with Line of control (LoC) in Kashmir. This is the most absurd as both are worlds apart in reality. No one, neither India or Pakistan consider it a permanent border. It is disputed territory according to UN. Durand line on other hand is literally considered international border by everyone except Afghanistan.

    And The last major argument made is that “Pashtun land on Pakistan’s side of Durand Line belongs to Afghanistan or Pashtuns should be reunited as Pashtunistan under Afghanistan, due to similar language and customs.” There is no legal basis for this claim, otherwise, half the world will be claiming the other half & vice versa. But if the argument is even considered, logically the smaller Pashtun body should join the larger one & consider there are twice as many Pashtuns in Pakistan, this argument will only backfire on Afghanistan.

    Pashtunistan is a dead horse. Even the staunch Pashtun nationalists, like ANP, don’t call for secession.

    The Products of Loya Jirga rejection of Durand Line Agreement
    Its only natural for a state to follow the policies its government has prescribed for it. And thus we saw Afghan army under Prime Minister Daud Khan unsuccessfully invading Bajaur twice in 1960-61. Then came 1970s, when we saw President Daud Khan hosting and arming, Mukti Bahini styled, Anti-Pakistan militants of BPLF and politicians like Ajmal Khattak in 1973. National Awami Party leaders were paid in Afghanistan by India for ‘Pashtunistan‘. This is confirmed by Jumma Khan Sufi, a close aide of Ajmal Khattak, in his book ‘Faraib e Natamam’. These policies also continued after communist Saur revolution.

    But before Saur, naturally, came Pakistan’s first response after 26 years in 1975, Bhutto responded to Daud Khan with Ahmad Shah Massoud, Hekmatyar & Jalaluddin Haqqani. They failed in the 70s but were much more successful under Zia in 80s. Post-1979 history is well discussed and we all know how this tit for tat has been going on since then.

    The Only Available Antidote

    What’s the Solution? Peace Talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan like Ashraf Ghani suggested? No. The only reason Ghani tried to reach out to Pakistan was because Afghanistan has realised it has lost the asymmetric war with Pakistan (TTP was in full retreat in 2015) like PM Daud realized that he has lost the conventional war with Pakistan in the 1960s & started an asymmetric one. These Peace talks will bear no fruit as they aren’t the antidote.

    Afghanistan needs to understand, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. As long as Afghanistan doesn’t recognise the Durand border agreement, its state apparatus will naturally have to keep kicking the dead horse of Pashtunistan and create trouble for Pakistan, and Pakistan will naturally reply in the same tongue.

    If Afghanistan can live with their other borders, in which they had no say in, why can’t they abide with the one they once agreed to? If Afghanistan doesn’t reverse the 1949 decision made by Loy Jirga, Af-Pak region is destined for conflict.

    https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/blog/af-pak-destined-for-conflict/#

    Author - Asfandyar Bhittani
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
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  2. Asfandyar Bhittani

    Asfandyar Bhittani PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Wrote this article to emphasize the need of discussion on national level of pre 1979 Af-Pak history & how a single day in Loy jirga sentenced this region to conflict & that no amount of peace talks etc will ever change anything unless the elephant in room is resolved.

    @Horus @MastanKhan
     
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  3. Khanate

    Khanate SENIOR MEMBER

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    Excellent article.

    This is a rare analysis in English language newspaper that uses the 1949 Afghan Loya Jirga as a lens to view Afghanistan-Pakistan relations. Most international analysis start by regurgitating, "Afghanistan is the only country to have vote against the admission of Pakistan to the United Nations in 1947." That may have set the stage but, as you correctly pointed out, the catalyst was 1949 Afghan Loya Jirga. If Afghanistan is sincere in seeking peace then start by reversing the decisions made by the 1949 Afghan Loy Jirga so we can end this debate once and for all.

    Even rational Afghan voices like Nasir Shansab have urged Afghanistan’s financial backers to end this 'sheer stupidity' since Afghanistan has no legal, political or military solution for Durand Line.

    Read: Afghan Leaders Ignore Vow to Fight Crime, Revive Economy to Wage Pakistani Border War (Newsmax)

    Despite the overwhelming evidence and rebuke from the international community, Afghan media outlets peddle false claims on a daily basis:

     
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  4. Asfandyar Bhittani

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    Thanks.
    Afghan state & govt know Afghanistan has no legal basis to Callaghan Pakistan's stand on Durand line Border, & thus why People like karzai want Pakistan to change its position & forget that Afghanistan REPEATEDLY Ratified the agreement. "we want Islamabad to understand and recognize that Afghanistan has not accepted the line as border since the beginning"
     
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  5. Pandora

    Pandora SENIOR MEMBER

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    Build a wall and it will be safe untill afghans grasp the concept of ladders.
     
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  6. CriticalThought

    CriticalThought SENIOR MEMBER

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    The only solution for Pakistan is to use the next war as an excuse to attack and capture the Pashtun areas, and carve out the Pashtunistan province that is long desired. With the Pashtuns united and happy, Pashtunistan will be a veritable iron wall against any advances by the rest of Afghanistan.

    From here, a proxy war should be enough to rid Afghanistan of the scourge of foreign puppets it faces.

    After that, our Afghan brothers can be our protectorate. We can provide them our nuclear umbrella, they can provide us strategic depth.

    I am all for an autonomous Afghan government in the long term as long as its not installed by America or India.

    The resulting Pak/Af will be an absolute nightmare for India to deal with. Imagine a corps of battle-hardened, courageous Afghans posted on the borders with India. India will truly understand the meaning of 'surgical strikes' and ceasefire violations then.
     
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  7. Khanate

    Khanate SENIOR MEMBER

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    Karzai ran out of legal, political, military, and even moral arguments so now its emotional arguments. :D

    Even morality demands that Afghanistan focus on peace, stability and eradicating poverty than starting a border war with Pakistan. I almost feel sorry reading Nasir Shansab's plea. You can almost sense his frustration.
     
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  8. Sugarcane

    Sugarcane ELITE MEMBER

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    It's time that Pakistani Pashtun should start asking Afghanistan to handover Afghanistan to them, they can manage it better sitting in Peshawar than mayor of Kabul.
     
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  9. Asfandyar Bhittani

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    Salam
    it will be equivalent of "a bail mugay mar". Its like importing trouble. Afghan Pashtuns are no friends of Pakistan like their Northern Alliance counterparts. This demand can be used as a counter narrative to that of Afghanistan's but in my humble opinion having Afghanistan in Pakistan will not be in best interest of Pakistan.
     
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  10. Imad.Khan

    Imad.Khan SENIOR MEMBER

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    How can you say that? we are the same people, if we accepted being part of Pakistan then why can't the rest. Just because their leaders have been misguiding them, doesn't mean we should just kick them out.

    I am a staunch supporter of uniting all Pukhtun lands and i am against the durand line but as we are in majority both by land mass and population Afghanistan should merge into Pakistan. I look forward to the day when we all will be united once more.
     
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  11. Horus

    Horus ADMINISTRATOR

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    Please add proper formatting and spacing.
     
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  12. Asfandyar Bhittani

    Asfandyar Bhittani PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    We maybe of same ethnicity as them, but we are not like them. 120 years of social, political & cultural difference is too huge to sweep under the rag. The same way as we Pakistani Pashtuns would not want to be part of afghanistan they too dont want to part of Pakistan. We Pakistan Pashtuns joined Pakistan through referendum & thats why we assimilated. You really think Afghans or Afghan pashtuns would vote to join Pakistan? it would be a wonderful thing but chance of that happening is below freezing point,

    The best solution would be to recognize the existing border & live like France & Germany post ww2. As tension deescalate over time we wont even need border fence or visas.

    Sorry, i am new to Pdf & still in learning phase. Thanks for the tip.
     
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  13. Husnainshah

    Husnainshah FULL MEMBER

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    The biggest problem is Pakistan's desire to essentially rule over Afghanistan. Period.
     
  14. Imad.Khan

    Imad.Khan SENIOR MEMBER

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    My brother 120 years is a very short period in our history and i agree if we held a referendum today they will choose not to join with Pakistan but with time if we show them the benefits of merging they will. lets take a look at Britain. For centuries the English and the Scotts and Welshmen fought and massacred each other but now referendum after referendum and the Scotts are voting to be part of Britain. Lets take a look at the USA, they even had a long and bloody civil war between the Northern and Southern states, but today they are stronger because they are united. They are united because their is fairness in their system. I hope Afghans and Pakistanis will realize this one day.

    Not sure where you got that from and sounds like you didn't even read the article. We have no desire to rule over Afghanistan, if we wanted to we would have invaded Afghanistan in the 60s when they attacked Bajaur or when the soviets were defeated or when the Taliban were in power, but we didn't. in saying that some of us which includes me what Afghanistan and Pakistan to become one.
     
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  15. Horus

    Horus ADMINISTRATOR

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    Reunification is the only solution.
     
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