More Border Fighting Between Afghan, Pakistani Militaries

by Joshua Foust on 6/23/2011 · 1 comment

Pajhwok reports:

Afghan border police attacked checkpoints in Pakistan Wednesday night in response to recent artillery attacks from the other side of the border, an official said.

According to Eastern Zone Border Police Commander Brig. Gen. Aminullah Amarkhel, Pakistani troops have fired 15 artillery shells across the Afghan border in recent days in an effort to enforce the Durand Line, the contested border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

These cross-border attacks, involving not insurgents but the official armed forces of Afghanistan and Pakistan, have been increasing in frequency, duration, and ferocity over the last 18 months. The violence seems to be cresting in recent weeks. BBC superstar reporter Bilal Sarwary has been tweeting up a storm about it:

Afghan border police in retailation have fired at Pakistani checkpoints, Gen Aminullah Amarkhel , commander of Af border forcesless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

If gov allows ANA,it will respond aggression with retaliating attacks. Pak has fired 550 missiles into Konar Province since 16 June,Ge Azimiless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

For two countries not at war with each other, that is a lot of cross-border violence. There is understandable reticence on the part of both militaries to avoid outright, total confrontation—not only would that be a distraction from the threat they both face from both countries’ Taliban insurgencies, it would be extremely destructive.

Pakistan’s solution, it appears, is to try to remove the problem by fencing the Durand Line and planting mine fields—and since Pakistan is one of few states to have refused to sign the Ottawa Convention restricting the use of landmines, well. Who really cares? What’s weird about this latest announcement is that for all the world it reminds me of Pakistan’s decision in 2006 to… fence and mine the Durand Line.

Nothing in Afghanistan and Pakistan, it seems, ever changes. Except for all the fighting.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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{ 1 comment }

the lost flaneur June 24, 2011 at 6:15 am

We had an idiot president in 70s who enraged Pakistanis with his nationalist rants about Durand Line. Others kept repeating him until the Pakistanis destroyed our country with our own hands (80s-now).
We should officially recognize Durand Line as a legitimate border and stop playing with the tale of a nuclear cat. Those who still sing the Durand song are idiots who just seek the attention of Pashtun hardliners inside Afghanistan. …. Now Pakistanis have come to the point that even if we recognize the Line, they will not leave us alone. Too late.

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