The current Afghan-Pakistani border (the Durand Line, named after its British negotiator, sir Mortimer Durand, then Foreign Secretary in the India Council) was established in 1893 as a boundary between London’s north-western Indian possession and the territories of the Amir of Kabul, Abdur Rahman. The Line was the last border of British India to be settled, over twenty years after the Persia-India border, laid down by the Goldsmid mission in 1870-72. The Durand Line has always been a source of trouble. Cutting through Pashtun’s traditional settlement areas, it has led to controversies since the beginning. At the same time, allowing the most relentless tribes to find safe haven in Afghanistan from British retribution, it contributed to fuelling cross-border violence. The establishment, in 1901, of the North-West Frontier Province (today’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), the British withdrawal behind the administrative border, and the adoption of the Frontier Crimes Regulations delegating to the local headmen the task of maintaining law and order highlight the limits the Line encountered in isolating the British possessions from their turbulent neighbours. Things did not change with the end of the Raj. On the contrary, the ambition to establish a “Greater Pashtunistan” merging large portions of Afghan and Pakistani territories put the border under increasing strain. In the following years, the collapse of Afghan statehood led to growing demands for a revision of the Durand Line, also endorsed (for a certain period) by former Afghan President Hamid Karzai (in office: 2004-14). Meanwhile, the porous Afghan-Pakistani border has increasingly emerged as one of the hot spots for Central Asia’s political and military security, emphasizing the weakness of a border that has proven largely incapable of fulfilling the tasks for which it has been conceived.

Pastori, G., Fra diplomazia e politica di potenza. La costruzione dei confini afgani e la competizione anglo-russa in Asia centrale, <<QUADERNI DI SCIENZE POLITICHE>>, 2023; XIII (24): 137-156 [https://hdl.handle.net/10807/273857]

Fra diplomazia e politica di potenza. La costruzione dei confini afgani e la competizione anglo-russa in Asia centrale

Pastori, Gianluca
2024

Abstract

The current Afghan-Pakistani border (the Durand Line, named after its British negotiator, sir Mortimer Durand, then Foreign Secretary in the India Council) was established in 1893 as a boundary between London’s north-western Indian possession and the territories of the Amir of Kabul, Abdur Rahman. The Line was the last border of British India to be settled, over twenty years after the Persia-India border, laid down by the Goldsmid mission in 1870-72. The Durand Line has always been a source of trouble. Cutting through Pashtun’s traditional settlement areas, it has led to controversies since the beginning. At the same time, allowing the most relentless tribes to find safe haven in Afghanistan from British retribution, it contributed to fuelling cross-border violence. The establishment, in 1901, of the North-West Frontier Province (today’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), the British withdrawal behind the administrative border, and the adoption of the Frontier Crimes Regulations delegating to the local headmen the task of maintaining law and order highlight the limits the Line encountered in isolating the British possessions from their turbulent neighbours. Things did not change with the end of the Raj. On the contrary, the ambition to establish a “Greater Pashtunistan” merging large portions of Afghan and Pakistani territories put the border under increasing strain. In the following years, the collapse of Afghan statehood led to growing demands for a revision of the Durand Line, also endorsed (for a certain period) by former Afghan President Hamid Karzai (in office: 2004-14). Meanwhile, the porous Afghan-Pakistani border has increasingly emerged as one of the hot spots for Central Asia’s political and military security, emphasizing the weakness of a border that has proven largely incapable of fulfilling the tasks for which it has been conceived.
2024
Italiano
Pastori, G., Fra diplomazia e politica di potenza. La costruzione dei confini afgani e la competizione anglo-russa in Asia centrale, <<QUADERNI DI SCIENZE POLITICHE>>, 2023; XIII (24): 137-156 [https://hdl.handle.net/10807/273857]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10807/273857
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