The President of Afghanistan has stated that Afghanistan will never accept Durand line as permanent border. His statement has caused a new wave of strife in the region. Following this statement on Monday night, the Afghan forces started unprovoked fire on Pakistani posts. Five frontier constabulary men sustained serious injuries. Mr Karzai has also asked Taliban to stand with him on the border issue.

In 1893, this line was drawn to demarcate the area between British India and Afghan government. In the early days there was disagreement but later this line was accepted as border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Durand line has been a permanent source of conflict between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Afghanistan has always shown reluctance in accepting this border as a permanent border. Involving the Taliban in solving such a dispute is not a good omen. This is a clear turn from the policy and motives of war against terror. Taliban are a common threat for both the countries. Peace and security is the right of peoples of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to gain all this, we need a mechanism for effective border management rather than call on unwanted elements to solve mutual issues. We need to bring uniformity within our own lines to pull back the Taliban.

Pakistan has always sought peaceful settlement of disputes with neighbors. Pakistani forces have shown extraordinary tolerance on the border. A terrorist force cannot be an arbitrator! Pakistan and Afghanistan have many other real and immediate problems to resolve rather that opening of discussion on border issues which would be a waste of time and distraction from key issues.

The failure of talks, as happened in Brussels, always leads to closed door resulting in further antagonism. The peoples of both the countries are tied in strong relations, having much in common. The long and arduous ‘war of terror’ has already exhausted many. Peace is required and that is possibly only when the doors of talks are open.

MUHAMMAD USMAN MALIK,

Sargodha, May 8.