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Taliban tears down barbed fence on Durand Line amid growing friction with Pakistan

The Afghan side near the Torkham border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan in September 2021 (Photo: Saeed Ahmad/Xinhua/IANS)

Taliban fighters have torn down a section of the razor wire fence along the Durand line—the international border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Watch Video: Taliban fighters tearing razor wire on Durand Line

In another video clip put up by an Afghan journalist Bilal Sarwary, Afghan Taliban intelligence chief of the Eastern Nangarhar province, Bashir is seen warning Pakistani soldiers on the Durand Line. If you violate the boundary line, be ready for war with us. We love fighting you more than the Jews. We still have a lot of work to do.”

Watch Video : Taliban fighters challenging Pakistani soldiers after removing the fence on Durand Line

The same  is happening on the Pakistani side as well. In a video clip, militants of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were shown cutting and removing the wired fencing in Waziristan. 

Watch Video 

This is the same area of the Afghan and Pakistan border where the Pakistani army had targeted the deputy chief of TTP by a drone attack last week. But the missiles fired by drone failed to explode.

According to Afghanistan’s Khaama News, Pakistani forces launched artillery fire on Monday night after the incident of removal of wire fencing in the Gushta district of Nangarhar province. Pakistan has nearly completed its barbed wire on the entire Durand Line that stretches approximately 2600-km between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Also Read : Pakistan’s drone strike on TTP leader flops as missile fails to explode

The new Taliban regime has been objecting to Pakistan fencing its 2,600-km border that it shares with Afghanistan and had clearly said that they do not recognise the Durand Line. In September, this was asserted by Chief Spokesperson of the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid  after the formation of the Taliban’s caretaker government in September. 

“We want to create a secure and peaceful environment on the border so that there should not be any need to create barriers, "the spokesperson said, hinting that the Taliban is not very inclined towards realising Pakistan's fantasy of fencing the border along Afghanistan, and that the decision will most probably be against it”. 

Reacting to this, Pakistan has threatened to stop transit of Afghans across the Durand Line if the Taliban government objected to the fencing on the Durand Line. Though the Taliban leaders were miffed about the blackmailing by Pakistan, they have been keeping quiet on this because they need Pakistan’s support on the international platforms to legitimise their regime.

“While most of the Taliban leaders are Pakistan's puppets, there exist nationalist Taliban too. No real Afghan will ever accept the imposed Durand line,” says Zarif Aminyar, former economic advisor of the previous Afghan government. 

No Afghan government, including the present Taliban regime, has ever recognized the legitimacy of the Durand Line, which runs through mountainous terrain and remains largely unpoliced.

And then there is the burning issue ethnic nationalism. Since the Durand Line divides the Pashtuns, it has never been popular in Afghanistan, which has always been averse to formally relinquishing its claim to a larger Pashtunistan.

Also Read : Taliban destroys Pakistan’s barbed-wire erected on Durand Line

Pashtuns in Balochistan in revolt against Islamabad as ethnic nationalism in Pakistan soars