Home Editorial Editorial: Tense Neighbors

Editorial: Tense Neighbors

Persistent tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan have a long history, going back to Partition

by Editorial

File photo

Amidst an ongoing terror resurgence, Pakistan has seen a decline in its ties with neighboring Afghanistan, who it accuses of facilitating militant outfits sheltering across the Durand Line. The truth is, despite a shared border, Pakistan and Afghanistan never been good neighbors, with Kabul even voting against admitting Pakistan as a member of the United Nations. The Durand Line, drawn up by the British, remains a point of conflict, as Pakistan considers it the international border, while Afghanistan does not recognize it. Ties between the two nations have only worsened since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, as the assistance once considered appreciable is now seen as external “meddling in Afghan affairs,” stoking anti-Pakistan resentment among Afghans. Pakistan, meanwhile, has long accused Afghanistan of working with India against it, and allowing anti-Pakistan militants to operate from Afghan territory.

Key to the current tensions is the surge in terrorism across Pakistan since the Afghan Taliban returned to power in 2021. Last year alone saw a 69 percent increase in terror attacks year-on-year, killing 974 people and wounding 1,351. These assaults played out as Pakistan Army chief Gen. Asim Munir warned the neighboring nation that Pakistani forces were prepared to protect every citizen against the country’s enemies. He also backed a government initiative to deport undocumented Afghans, as well as ending cross-border travel under lax protocols. Yet, the porous border between the two nations remains a problem, with terrorists seemingly freely entering Pakistan from Afghanistan.

The current impasse is especially tragic in light of the 2018 agreement inked under the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS). London-based The Economist had foretold that it would do little to resolve the conflict. “Since the ignominious collapse of Afghanistan’s Western-backed regime, after an expensive and violent 20-year experiment in democratization, Pakistan has oscillated uncomfortably between relief and anxiety. However, it is far from clear whether boosting Pakistan’s diplomatic weight and opening opportunities for commerce—or whether this unsteady country of 220 million will be sucked into yet more Afghan turmoil, this time with no one else to blame.”

Related Articles

Leave a Comment