Since the birth of Pakistan in 1947, a constantly strained relationship has developed and maintained with Afghanistan. The root cause of this being the conflicting views of each, on the status of the Durand Line. The ‘Pashtunistan’ issue has further cemented the division bom physically and politically in the agendas of both countries. The rise of Pashtun nationalism in Pakistan has complicated the previously straightforward demands of Afghanistan in the past. No longer a territorial claim, Afghanistan now supports the Pashtuns in their strive for right to self determination in an autonomous Pashtunistan province.
For Pakistan, this may naturally seem like a relief but the Pashtuns of the NWFP and the Tribal Agencies have become strong enough to challenge the government of Pakistan, supported by the Afghan Government which stands accused of interfering in the internal politics of Pakistan. The Foreign policy of both Afghanistan and Pakistan towards each other and the international community has been heavily influenced by the dispute over the Durand Line.
Afghanistan supports self-determination for the Pashtuns, justifiably so, as she shares history, religion, culture and language ties with them. Afghanistan no longer has territorial claims on the North-West tribal areas but feels that the Pashtuns must be able to exercise the right of self-determination and resents the fact that the 1947 referendum failed to offer them the chance to choose between independence or merger with Afghanistan.
Continue reading – 2.1 The Frontier Ghandi’s Pashtunistan