Durand Line

border between Afghanistan and Pakistan

The Durand Line is the international 2,430-kilometre (1,510 mi) land border between Afghanistan and Pakistan in South-Central Asia. It was established after an 1897 memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Mortimer Durand of British India and Afghan Amir Abdur Rahman Khan. Referred to as a frontier line, it is named after Mortimer Durand, who was the Foreign Secretary of colonial British India at the time. Later, Abdur Rahman Khan's successor, Amir Habibullah Khan signed a new agreement with Britain which again confirmed the legality of the Durand Line.[1][2] King Amanullah Khan also accepted Durand line as international border between Afghanistan and British India after signing the Anglo-Afghan treaty of 1919.[1][2] Article 5 of this treaty, on the basis of which Afghanistan reclaimed its independence, says that Afghanistan accepted all previously agreed border arrangements with British India. Hence, Afghanistan as an independent country recognized Durand line as an international border.[1]

The Durand Line (in red) between Afghanistan and British India. It was named Mortimer Durand, a civil servant of colonial British India.

The Durand Line cuts through the Afghan tribal areas, politically dividing ethnic Pashtuns and Baloch people who live on both sides.[3] The line is internationally recognized by many countries as the western border of Pakistan,[4] but Afghan governments after 1947 never recognized it.[5][6][7][8]

Afghan Pashtun leaders claim Pakistani territories and say that the Durand Line is "an issue of historical importance for Afghanistan. The Afghan people, not the government, can take a final decision on it."[7] However, non-Pashtuns Afghans have always recognized durand line as international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.[9][10] Similarly, Pakistani Pashtuns have also recognized Durand line as international border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2017 President Hamid Karzai said Afghanistan "will never accept" the Durand Line.[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Why the Durand Line Matters". The Diplomat.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Rutu Shah (16 August 2016). "Why is Balochistan important? Let's revisit the tale of the Durand Line". FirstPost. Archived from the original on 28 December 2017. However in 1905, Amir Habibullah Khan • the successor of Abdur Rahman Khan • had signed a new agreement to confirm the legality of Durand Line. This legality was reaffirmed by the•Anglo-Afghan treaty of 1919 (also known as the Rawalpindi agreement) on the basis of which Afghanistan reclaimed its independence. The Kabul agreement of 1921 surpassed even the Rawalpindi agreement and stated that the Durand line will be recognised as an international border.
  3. Smith, Cynthia (August 2004). "A Selection of Historical Maps of Afghanistan - The Durand Line". United States: Library of Congress. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
  4. Abubakar Siddique (25 October 2012). "The Durand Line: Afghanistan's Controversial, Colonial-Era Border". The Atlantic.
  5. "Afghanistan ready to OK 9 US bases after 2014 troop pullout, Karzai says". Associated Press. 25 March 2015.
  6. Yousafzai, Qaiser (7 May 2013). "Nationalists against raking up border spat". www.pajhwok.com.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "No change in stance on Durand Line: Faizi". Pajhwok Afghan News. October 24, 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-05-10. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
  8. Grare, Frédéric (October 2006). "Carnegie Papers - Pakistan-Afghanistan Relations in the Post-9/11 Era" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-10-03. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
  9. "Afghan parliamentarian backs Durand Line as border". Express Tribune. 2 April 2017.
  10. "Foreign policies overshadowed by border conflict". Kabulnow.af. 22 July 2019. Archived from the original on 10 November 2019.
  11. Siddiqui, Dawn com | Naveed (2017-03-05). "Afghanistan will never recognise the Durand Line: Hamid Karzai". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2020-07-09.

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