The inevitable Pak-Afghan Union

The US and its allies occupy both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The only difference is that the former is under the direct military occupation as a result of full-scale war waged against its former government. Pakistan, on the other hand, suffers from partial occupation. Unlike Hamid Karzai, the US forces have not waged a war to install General Musharraf. Nevertheless, compared to Afghanistan, the US can achieve its objectives more freely and conveniently in Pakistan. Along these full and partial occupations, natural resources, strategic positions, Pakistan’s nuclear capability and various other factors within and outside Pakistan and Afghanistan are pushing these countries are at work to somehow alter their present status.
Whatever may be the outcome, one can safely say that Pakistan and Afghanistan will not remain as two states on the world map for too long. Almost all the visible forces are engaged in somehow disintegrating these states. The invisible forces, nevertheless, are brining these countries towards an ultimate unification –” towards the formation of a greater Afghanistan. A thorough analysis reveals that results of the visible forces, working for disintegrating these states, would also indirectly lead to strengthen position of the forces invisibly leading these states towards unification.

The disintegration options are presented as the best security option for the region. A broad identification in this regard shows the forces for domestic liberalization (demilitarising, democratising, or "secularising") and the forces advocating South Asian regional cooperation (even Pakistan’s reunion with India) are the forces acting for disintegration of Pakistan.

There are also plans under consideration since long for dividing Afghanistan into different states to neutralise any prospects of its emergence as an “Islamic fundamentalist” state. Pakistan and Afghanistan’s future security and survival as viable states is self-evident in none of these propositions. Interestingly, all efforts made towards disintegrating these states are indirectly leading to the realisation of most plausible security alternative: the union of Pakistan and Afghanistan. They strengthen the invisible forces of trans-pseudo-national religious and cultural identity which are leading these countries towards the inevitable union.
In Pakistan, there are two clear ends of the spectrum. At one end, visionaries like Dr. Israr Ahmed of Tanzeem-i-Islami foresee confederation between Pakistan and Afghanistan for countering Indian and other hegemonic designs.[1] On the other end, the self-proclaimed “liberals” like Najam Sethi come up with inflammatory and scare-mongering articles and editorials. For example a February 02, 2001 editorial of the Friday Times shows how much deep contempt some quarters have for the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), Pakhtoons and Afghans.

The idea of a multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian and democratic Pakistan seems to exclude the inhabitants of NWFP. By making disparaging remarks about Pakhtoons, the editorial is an example of how the forces of disintegration are actually not only promoting sectarianism, hatred, intolerance and xenophobia but also paving the way for unification of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In an article published in Asian Affairs, an American Review, Washington October 1995, Sandy Gordon argued that at the end of the Cold War, India had emerged as the winner and Pakistan the loser in South Asia. "Far from having lost out as a result of the end of the Cold War," he wrote, India is poised to emerge in the early 21st century as a far more important and influential power in the Indian Ocean region, and even globally, than it was in the latter part of the 20th.[2] Pro-India transmissions of BBC World Service abroad and rhetoric of pro-India “peace lobby’ together with anti-religious organisation campaign in Pakistan indicate the pace of uncontrollable events that are soon going to push the pendulum towards the inevitable unification.
Durability of Pakistan borders are constantly questioned by Indian and western analysts with a hope to see a disintegrated Pakistan. At home, media outlets like Friday Times use the acronym, ‘NWFP’ throughout specific pieces of articles and editorials in a way to relegate a constituent unit of the Pak Nation. Perhaps in their vision of a multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian and democratic Pakistan, the ‘NWFP’ will merely be an appendage i.e. a buffer zone to protect a multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian and democratic Pakistan from their co-religionists in Afghanistan.

At the moment, ethnic separatism is not a significant threat in the NWFP, where the Pakhtunistan movement is mostly moribund and, beyond that, tends to be seen less as a product of grievances of Pakhtoons than as a device exploited and fostered at times by external forces. At the same time, Pakhtoons nationalism is by no means a thing of the past, however, and seems bound to become more troublesome with Pakhtoon and non-Pakhtoon struggle in Afghanistan on the one hand and irresponsible attitude of the “liberal” leaders and media pundits in Pakistan on the other. The new version of this movement, nevertheless, would be in favour of confederation with Afghanistan rather than dismemberment of Pakistan.

This paper looks into various aspects that are leading Pakistan and Afghanistan to end up as a united country.

Early History
It is probable that there were well-developed civilizations in Afghanistan in prehistoric times, but the archaeological record is not clear. Certainly cultures had flourished in the north and east before the Persian king Darius I (c.500 B.C.) conquered these areas. Later, Alexander the Great conquered (329–”327 B.C.) them on his way to India, which never included the present land area of Pakistan.
After Alexander’s death (323 B.C.) the region at first was part of the Seleucid empire. In the north, Bactria became independent, and the south was acquired by the Maurya dynasty. Bactria expanded southward but fell (mid-2d cent. B.C.) to the Parthians and rebellious tribes (notably the Saka). Buddhism was introduced from the east by the Yüechi, who founded the Kushan dynasty (early 2d cent. B.C.). Their capital was Peshawar. The Kushans declined (3d cent. A.D.) and were supplanted by the Sassanids, the Ephthalites, and the Turkish Tu-Kuie.
Muslim conquests

Eastern Flank of Islam under the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs Islam spread to the borders of Afghanistan under Caliph Othman (644-656) and Caliph Ali (656-661). Under the Umayyads (661-750), Islam spread to Afghanistan: Kabul (664),  Punjab, Sindh and Central Asia: Transoxania, Merv (710), Samarkand (710). In 711 C.E., Muhmmad Bin Qasim under command of the ruler of Spain and Central Asia came into South Asia reaching as far as Multan, where he settled 4000 Arab families.
The Muslim conquest of Afghanistan began in the 7th century. Several short-lived Muslim dynasties were founded, the most powerful of them having its capital at Ghazni. Mehmud Gahnavi, who conquered the lands from Khorasan in Iran to the Punjab in India early in the 11th cent., was the greatest of Afghanistan’s rulers. Jenghiz Khan (c.1220) and Timur (late 14th cent.) were subsequent conquerors of renown. Babur, a descendant of Timur, used Kabul as the base for his conquest of India and the establishment of the Mughal empire in the 16th cent. In the 18th cent. the Persian Nadir Shah extended his rule to N of the Hindu Kush. After his death (1747) his lieutenant, Ahmad Shah, an Afghan tribal leader, established a united state covering most of present-day Afghanistan. His dynasty, the Durrani, gave the Afghans the name (Durrani) that they themselves frequently use.

Abbasid Caliphate

The Abbbasid Caliphate (750-850) with its capital in Baghdad was at its greatest extent during the rule of Haroun al-Rashid (786-809). Its eastern limits included Herat in Afghanistan and Balkh, Bukhara, Merv, Samarkand and Transoxania in Central Asia. The Ghaznavids who ruled Kabul, Ghazni, Kandahar, Multan, Lahore and Kashmir all recognised the Abbasid Caliphate by 1090.[3]

Mahmud of  Ghazni

Mahmud of Ghazni (born 971, reigned 998-1030) was the first Turk to invade Iran and South Asia from the Northwest. His conquests stretched deep into Central Asia (Balkh). He ventured far south as Gujerat, attaching Punjab to his Central Asian empire. The western limit of his empire included Hamadan and Isfahan; Peshawar, Jhelum, Amritsar, Lahore, Multan in the east; and Gujerat in the south.[4]  
The Ghaznavids recognised the Abbasid Caliphate and played the main part in the expansion of Islam into South Asia.  The Ghaznavids were succeeded by Afgans from Ghor – Ghurids Dynasty 1148-1206. The last Ghurid ruler of Afghanistan brought the whole of northern India under Islamic rule.[5] The Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526) with its capital in Delhi, followed under the leadership of four major dynasties – the Mamluks (Turkish slaves), Khaljis, Tughlaqs and Lodis.[6] During this time there was an intermixing of Turkish, Persian and Afghan culture, for example the word Urdu is of Turkish origin meaning military camp.

A Barlas Turk (Turko-Mongol) warrior called Timur (the Earth Shaker) born in 1336 near Samarkand created a single unified empire that included Central Asia (Bukhara, Merv, Tashkent), Iraq; Iran, Afghanistan, and much of Pakistan (Peshawar, Taxila, Lahore, Multan, etc).[7] His capital was Samarkand. He added Delhi to his empire in 1398.

  South Asia before Babur’s Invasion

When Christians from Europe became interested in India, e.g. Christopher Columbus (1492), Vasco Da Gama (1497), the continent as with any continent was made up of several nations of which one was Islamic : the Sultanate of Delhi ruled by the Afghan Lodhis since 1451. The Sultanate was a narrow strip that ran across North India stretching from Afghanistan in the west to Bihar Bengal in the east; whilst its southern limit was Delhi. Other nations in the continent included Bengal, Multan, Rajput Confederacy, Arghun Kingdom of Sindh, Gujerat, Malwa, Khandesh, Gondwana, Orissa, Ahmadnagar, Berar, Bidar, Golconda and Vijayanagar.
Mughal Empire

Six years after Da Gama’s arrival in South Asia, a Sufi Dervish (also an adventurer, poet and writer) from Farghana, Uzbekistan in Central Asia called Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur – the Tiger/Leopard (a descendent of Timur), invaded Afghanistan at the instigation of the governor of Punjab. 

In 1504, he seized power from the existing Muslim rulers – the Afghan Lodhis (1451-1526).  The foundations and first capital of the Mughal Empire was Kabul in Afghanistan. Babur then took Kandahar in 1522 and Lahore in 1524. For ten years, Babur divided his ambitions between Central Asia and South Asia.[8]

In 1526 at the Battle of Panipat, Babur defeated the last Lodhi called Ibrahim who had ruled Delhi, Bihar and Punjab. Babur used guns, matchlocks and mortars which have not been seen in South Asia before. With this victory, he gained control of Delhi and Agra. Having secured the traditional invasion routes of the Khyber Pass in Afghania (North West Frontier) and Kashmir, he advanced deep into South Asia.  Babur was an outsider and would pine for his Central Asian homeland.[9]
The objective of the Mughal Empire was to colonise the whole peninsula of South Asia, even if it meant compromising the religion of Islam by making alliances with non-Muslims, so as to bring the vast continent of different nations under a single unified administration. The task was completed by the British Raj, who virtually inherited the administration. Thus it only took 150,000 British personnel to rule South Asia, while it took 400,000 French soldiers to colonise Algeria.
Ahmad Shah Abdali

The break-up of the Mughal Empire began with an invasion by Nadir Shah the Turk who in 1739 conquered Iran, attacked Peshawar, Lahore and Delhi, looting Delhi’s vast treasures before retiring to Kabul.  In 1747, Afghanistan and today’s Pakistan separated from the Mughal Empire under Ahmed Shah Abdali Durrani (an Afghan born in Multan). Between 1747 and 1769, Abdali invaded the North-west, Kashmir, Lahore (1752) nine times killing many Sikhs and defiling their temple. In 1761, Abdali defeated the Marathas, but a mutiny in the Afghan army forced him to withdraw, leaving a power
vacuum for the East India Company.[10]
Beginning of the international problem

The reign of the Durrani line ended in 1818, and no predominant ruler emerged until Dost Muhammad became emir in 1826. During his rule the status of Afghanistan became an international problem, as Britain and Russia contested for influence in central Asia. Aiming to control access to the northern approaches to India, the British tried to replace Dost Muhammad with a former emir, subordinate to them. This policy caused the first Afghan War (1838–”42) between the British and the Afghans.

Dost Muhammad was at first deposed but, after an Afghan revolt in Kabul, was restored. In 1857, Dost Muhammad signed an alliance with the British. He died in 1863 and was succeeded, after familial fighting, by his third son, Sher Ali.
As the Russians acquired territory bordering on the Amu Darya, Sher Ali and the British quarreled, and the second Afghan War began (1878). Sher Ali died in 1879. His successor, Yakub Khan, ceded the Khyber Pass and other areas to the British, and after a British envoy was murdered the British occupied Kabul. Eventually Abd ar-Rahman Khan was recognized (1880) as emir.

In the following years Afghanistan’s borders were more precisely defined. Border agreements were reached with Russia (1885 and 1895), British India (the Durand Treaty, 1893 for which the sitting Kind was forced to sign in person), and Persia (1905). The Anglo-Russian agreement of 1907 guaranteed the independence of Afghanistan under British influence in foreign affairs. Abd ar-Rahman Khan died in 1901 and was succeeded by his son Habibullah. Despite British pressure, Afghanistan remained neutral in World War I. Habibullah was assassinated in 1919. His successor, Amanullah, attempting to free himself of British influence, invaded India (1919). This third Afghan War was ended by the Treaty of Rawalpindi, which gave Afghanistan full control over its foreign relations.

It is important to note that Afghanistan’s southern border was drawn by Sir Mortimer Durand, the colonial government of India’s foreign secretary, expressly to divide the Pashtun tribe’s homeland in half, thereby establishing a buffer state on India’s northwest frontier. The document was to be ratified by the legislative body in Afghanistan. However, it never happened. Moreover, the text of the Treaty is clear in identifying the Amir and not the people or government of Afghanistan as party to the document. 

Following the procurement of this Treaty, the Durand line was not demarcated in any areas with the exception of Chaman-SpinBoldak and the Torkhum region. On the map, however, the areas of Chaman, Peshin, Chaghai, Waziristan, BulandKhail, Koram, ParaChinar, Afraidi, Bajawur, Suwat, Bajawar, Chilas and Chitral,  part of the Afghan sovereign territory, were annexed to the British India. Neither the people of Afghanistan nor the people of above region have had at any time agreed to this arrangement. 

When the Pakhtoons who found themselves on the Indian side of the Durand line failed to integrate themselves peaceably under the Raj, the North-West Frontier Province was sliced off from the Punjab to establish a second, inner buffer. These two tribal belts were incorporated formally within the boundaries of Pakistan when that nation separated from a newly independent India under the 1947 Partition Plan.

When the British left India in 1947 for good, it should have returned Afghan territory up to river Sutlej, or at least including the area up to the natural border, the River Indus to Afghanistan. Instead, still dreaming of keeping its colonial interests alive in the subcontinent the British gave this territory to Pakistan, thus creating a double buffer zone between the expansionist Soviet Union and the Indian Ocean. This deprived Afghanistan of direct access to the sea.

Mr. Ludwig W. Adamec of the US Department of Near Eastern Studies, who has done a thorough study of Afghan history and extensively wrote on Afghan issues, writes in one of his 1998 write ups, titled “Greater Afghanistan, A Missed Chance” that the areas previously under Afghanistan rule “were not given the right to vote for independence or union with Afghanistan – the choice was rather for union with Pakistan or India.” He writes in a well publicized article:
"The British Foreign Office sought legal advice in the matter in case the frontier dispute was taken for arbitration to an international. tribunal.

Although Afghan nationalists would have liked to Integrate all of the North-West Frontier Province of India and Baluchistan into "historical" Afghanistan, London confined this issue to "the tribal area lying between the outer boundary of the Province and the line recognized by Article 2 of the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1921"[ Ludwig W. Adamec, Afghanistan, 1900-1923: A Diplomatic History California Univ. Press 1967. This volume contains copies of the Anglo-Afghan agreements and treaties]. The area in question included the five Tribal Agencies: Malakand, Khaibar, Kurram, North Waziristan, and South Waziristan."[11]

In fact, the British agreed with the Russians that neither of them could dominate the Afghans the way they wanted to, so they tried something else. They formed an ostensibly independent country. Sir Thomas Holdich wrote in 1901, “We have contributed much to give a national unity to that nebulous community which we call Afghanistan…by drawing a boundary all round it and elevating it to the position of a buffer state between England and Russia.”[12]

The Durand line’s failure to respect customary tribal territorial claims and to accommodate existing regional social, linguistic and cultural networks has had disastrous consequences for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pakhtoons in particular found themselves on opposite sides of new, unwanted borders.

Furthermore, history shows that the present land area occupied by Pakistan has always remain part of Afghanistan. The above mentioned map of 1892 shows the area of NWFP and Baluchistan were even until then part of Afghanistan. Therefore, Afghans have never accepted separation of some of their territories by force. A resolution adopted soon after the creation of Pakistan during the General Assembly session of the National Assembly of Afghanistan (7th Shura) states, “Previous treaties which are aimed at separating the eastern provinces of Afghanistan were forcefully imposed on Afghan rulers. Thus, they are no longer considered valid.[13] More importantly, Amir Abdur Rehman Khan of Afghanistan was not acting as an independent head of state while signing the Durand agreement with British. He was on British subsidy, a kind of payroll, and a clause in the agreement hints to this reality. The Durand Line Treaty states:
"Further, in order to mark their sense of the friendly spirit in which His Highness the Amir has entered into these negotiations, the Government of India undertake to increase by the sum of six lakhs of rupees a year the subsidy of twelve lakhs now granted to His Highness."[14]  
In 1901, Abdur Rahman’s son, Habibullah, succeeded him. Lord Curzon entered into a same treaty with him for continuing his subsidy and quite clearly suggesting that the Durand Line is not an international frontier. He was assassinated in February 1919 and his son Amanullah succeeded his. In May 1919 Amanullah began their War of Independence, generally called the Third Anglo-Afghan War. Afghan forces crossed the Durand Line. Pakhtoons on both sides of the Durand Line rallied to the cause of unification. But their power was of no match to the British military strength which was further solidified with introduction of fighter aircrafts.

After World War I, the British began deploying Hawker Hart bombers along the frontier “to chastise rebellious Pathans,” familiar behavior for those of us acquainted with policies of the US, Israel and their allies. In 1920 after one border incursion, the British flew bombing raids over Jalalabad, Dacca, Kabul, and other cities inside Afghanistan. Six tons of bombs were dropped on Jalalabad, and the raid over Dacca lasted from morning to evening, causing 600 casualties. The Kabul bombing was on May 24, British Empire Day, and just to show who was boss, the Amir’s Palace was a target. An armistice was signed in November 1921. British soldiers “penetrated the valleys, extracted fines and pledges for good behavior and, when neither were forthcoming, burned crops and villages.” Major Gen. Harold Lewis wrote in his diary, “I am afraid that they will undergo most awful hardships this and next year, until they have got their crops going again.”[15]

The Treaty of Rawalpindi that followed gave the Afghans control over their foreign affairs but the Afghan territory remained in British India. Afterwards Afghans remained embroiled in their own problems from the Civil War in which the British supported General Nadir Khan, to taking over rule by the 19 year old Zahir Shah and his ouster by Sardar Daoud Khan, to the communists arrival and the subsequent longest war on the Afghan soil.

It is interesting to note that the arrival of communists into Afghanistan is also part of the unequal treaties imposed by British and its drawing lines on the Afghan map for separating major portions of its territory and people. Afghanistan never got the position of strength where it could dictate terms of enforce a desired settlement to regain its lost territories. Afghan government under Daoud sought military and economic assistance from the USA. But with Pakistan as its chosen ally, the USA turned its back on Afghanistan. Daoud had no option but to turn to Russia for assistance.

It pushed Afghanistan into the Soviet Union lap and made it become dependent upon it. Afghans got addicted to many things from the Soviet Union from essentials like food and energy to the ideology of communism due to their close interaction.

When Daoud came to power for the second time in 1973, he revived the issue of lost territories. In 1979, a new Afghan government once more formally repudiated the Durand Line. But for the next 23 years Afghanistan was beset by a cruel and callous war, which kept the issue from resurfacing. However, during this period, the world witnessed the insignificance of  Durand Lind. Pakistan and Afghanistan remained almost borderless on their North Western and North Eastern borders respectively. During the Taliban period the concept and existence of border between Pakistan and Afghanistan virtually disappeared.  After the US occupation of Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s sending troops to the Durand Line has once more revived the unfinished issue.
The indivisible people and land
Henry Mortimer Durand, Foreign Secretary of the Government of British India could draw a line on the map to separate Afghanistan from the rest of its people and land but the 110 years since then have proved that indivisible people and land will once more lead into merger of the two most strategic countries of the world. As mentioned earlier, the forces that are focusing on the break up of Afghanistan and Pakistan are also indirectly leading into the unification of these two countries.
While concluding a recent article on the border dispute between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mohan Guruswamy of Deccan Chronicle concludes: “It is now only a question of time before the demand for the reunification of all their people becomes a rallying call for the Pashtun nation. Even the internal dynamics within Afghanistan demand it. There is much unfinished business here.”[16] We must remember that the same Indian analysts were highlighting importance of the Durand Line during the time of the Taliban, when they feared that Pakistan and Afghanistan have virtually merged into a single state.[17]

The forces working for disintegration of Pakistan believes that revival of the Durand Line issue will cause only separation of NWFP and Baluchistan from Pakistan. They forget that in the post 1947 situation has considerably altered the socio-cultural set up of the area presently under Pakistan’s territory. Even if we look at the following map of India, drawn by Shepherd in 1923, shows that the areas well beyond river Sutlaj, including Kashmir were part of Afghanistan. Similarly, Sindh remained part of Afghanistan under Ahmad Shah Abdali. India for most of the time remained limited to its core of Mahratta states.

Thus the present territory of Pakistan has always been part of Afhgnaistan. Today, the similarities s are starker and deeper than ever. The common will of the people of both countries to be free from any external subjugation and living by Islam are some of the binding elements which turn the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan to a pure fiction. Drawing a line on the map to mark the empire’s edge could hardly subside the Pakhtoon struggle for their own land.

The fury of the Pakhtoons about the US and allies assault on Afghanistan is directed not only at the western powers, but also at the Pakistan authorities for backing an unjust war. It is wrong to assume that anger is just confined to the NWFP. From Chitral in the far north to the stews of Karachi on the edge of the Arabian Sea, the war in Afghanistan is stirring already potent religious, national and ethnic resentments.

The people rage against the corrupt elite, who are fighting the US misnomered war on terrorism for gaining personal benefits. Limited number of self-proclaimed “liberal” Muslims would hardly be able to stem the tides of unification. At the moment, the intelligentsia rage against the craven bowing of the national leadership to American pressure. Although the anti-government elements do not get much exposure, but it is evident that the forces yearning for true independence are increasing and getting stronger by the day.

Both Pakistan and Afghanistan have faced such outbreaks of rage in the past. The lines which divide ethnic groups, rich and poor, Islamists and secularists, Sunni and Shia Muslims, have seldom threatened to close ranks and confront the occupiers. Many attempts, such as the bombing in Quetta to kill Shi’ite, have been made to weaken the glue which binds Pakistan’s constituent parts has held fast. But with a protracted war in Afghanistan, and a sense of creeping anarchy within, the forces of unification on both sides of the divide are gaining strength to confront the real enemy.

Recent border tensions

The outsiders assessment that Afghans no more love Pakistanis is correct. However, this loss of trust is limited to the government level because instead of sincerely assisting Afghans in stabilising their country, Pakistan has always played into the US hands to serve its agenda in Afghanistan. As far as the common people are concerned, there is as much trust among them as ever was. Afghans associated with the Northern Alliance complain because the Pakistani government propped up the Taliban in the directives from Washington. The same were later abandoned due to changed mindset in Washington again.
The speed with which the US occupation has moved has left Musharraf’s efforts to salvage Pakistan’s Afghanistan policy in tatters. Musharraf fully supported the US in its war on the Taliban. He then failed to get the “moderate” Taliban into the post-war equation. With political turbulence in its settled and tribal areas rising, Pakistan faces the prospect of a further polarization following what is seen as the failure of incoherent and Washington-dictated internal and external policies.
Externally, the puppet Afghan regime has thrown the ball in US court to settle the issue of Duran Line, a treaty which has been expired in 1993. Afghan officials have reportedly asked the United States to use its influence to help renegotiate its border with Pakistan. Pakistan has already rejected this demand saying that the Durand Line is a settled issue and that it did not have any desire to re-open it.

The issue has already caused several skirmishes between the two countries that led to the formation of a tripartite commission to resolve the issue. However, the tripartite commission comprised of officials from Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States failed to come up with a unanimous decision to resolve the border row that led to a request by Afghan officials to the US government seeking its assistance. Washington has already made it clear to both Pakistan and Afghanistan that it has no desire to get involved in re-negotiating a deal made more than 100 years ago.[18]
Interestingly what the British Empire faced on the Northern Frontiers of India, the Americans are facing on the Eastern frontiers. The situation is almost identical, only directions are different. It would be naïve to assume that the US is not considering moves to expand the Afghan borders to include all the tribal areas of Pakistan, at the very least, for establishing Afghanistan’s national security. That’s how the British created buffer zones for itself in the north and that is how Israel went for its business in Lebanon.
Musharraf and his cronies would be living in fool’s paradise if they believe that the US would not take any steps that would jeopardize its stability or its existing territorial integrity. MB Naqvi nicely summarizes this situation in his Deccan Herald column.
"…if you posit that US and Pakistan are old friends and allies there should be no threat from a basically America-run Afghan government. Is that really so? No clear answer emerges. There are Pakistani commentators who hold that, looking in a historic perspective, the US is doing to Pakistan now what it used to do to India during the cold war: use Pakistan to pressurise India. The US may be doing the same to Pakistan through Afghanistan today." [19]
However, Pakistan would be lucky if the American tactics are limited only to pressurising Pakistan. Unfortunately, it will not be so.

The reality is that America was not as troubled about the Taliban as it is about Pakistan. It certainly trust its ally, General Musharraf, and his devoted services. It is rather the Israeli fear and Indian propaganda that occupies the US mindset. No matter how much Musharraf may surrender, the danger of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of “fundamentalists” will forever lurk in American mind. The more Musharraf uses tactics such as brining MMA into power to show the US that he is an indispensable secular bulwark, the more these moves back fire, keeping the US wary of the “fundamentalists” take over in Pakistan.
Compared to the minds that run the British Empire, Americans are far more novices. They have been playing such games but only under the influences of neo-cons and Zionists pulling the strings from behind the scene. For them coming to Afghanistan is the first step toward neutralizing Pakistan’s threat. For them overtaking Pakistan, or giving both Pakistan and Afghanistan under the control of a reliable hand would be more secure than creating a small buffer zone between Afghanistan and Pakistan. This could be one of the moves that would pave the way for eventual unification of Afghanistan and Pakistan, against all efforts of their dismemberment.

We must not ignore that the recent border skirmishes must be due to green light by Washington to either Kabul or Islamabad. The same thing happened before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the same pattorn of prior knowledge followed the course of events before 9/11. Similarly, the US had anticipated the war in Afghanistan well before the Afghan government’s invitation to the Soviet Union, which we dubbed as Soviet invasion. In fact, in the words of National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Carter Administration did what it could to “draw the Russians into the Afghan trap.” Six months before the Afghan government’s request to Soviet for military assistance, the first covert CIA aid to the Mujaheddin was authorized.

Brzezinski admitted in a 1998 interview that, “I wrote a note to the President in which I explained to him that in my opinion, this aid would result in military intervention by the Soviets…we didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we consciously increased the probability that they would do so.”[20] So, the continued devastation of Afghanistan is a matter of US policy and we cannot deny the probability that the recent Pak-Afghan tension is part of an American ploy to exploit the situation for a more direct role in Pakistan affairs –” turning the indirect occupation to a more direct one.
Talks of division
The forces of disintegration have long been engaged in discussing division of Pakistan and Afghanistan in various ways. The more justified attempt would be in the name of fighting terrorism and Islamic extremism, terms that have no meaning except to inspire irrational fear and justify unjust policies; just as “communism” was used during the Cold War. In the name of “fighting terrorism,” the US got together with Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and India to sponsor a second round of UN Security Council sanctions on the Taliban. The vote was 13-0, with China and Malaysia dissenting, but abstaining. Nobody wanted to appear “soft on terrorism.” The US ambassador Nancy Soderberg called the vote “a strong stand against terrorism and for the maintenance of international peace and security.”

The Canadian ambassador said he voted for the resolution “because of the strong anti-terrorist message it sent.” The Dutch ambassador agreed that “it was important that the Council should send a political signal and send it with one voice.” In secret, Britain, Canada, and the Netherlands were against the sanctions, because “the only outcome of the sanctions would be to make the already appalling humanitarian situation in Afghanistan even worse.”[21]

Now imagine the same hype gaining momentum with the objective to reshape the geography of South Asia in order to combat international terrorism. The news stories and almost all analysis revolve around the assumption that the entire terrorism network has been managed by terrorist forces stationed in Pakistan under the safe umbrella of Government of Pakistan. These terrorist forces have taken the shelter of Islamic identity in order to implement their dangerous designs of dominating South Asia and make it an Islamic territory. ISI is fully supporting these groups in order to keep the US engaged in Afghanistan.

There are write ups on the net and a subtle indications in many op-ed pieces towards the proposal that disintegration of Pakistan is the only option for collapsing the terrorists’ network altogether. Under such proposals, the whole NWFO should be transfored into a buffer zone, accountable to “the international comity of nations” so as to cut ISI’s access to the terrorists in Afghanistan.

Similalry there have been plans to divide Afghanistan in 4 parts. If the ethnic concept is implemented, practically it would result in the country being divided into four main regions – Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek and Pashtu. This delineation has been incorporated in the Dushanbe Plan, a strategy the US has developed for sending its forces into Afghanistan from the Central Asian republics.[22] Due to prolonged US stay in Afghanistan and it continued failure to bring peace and stability according to its own vision, the US might be tempted to pave the way for such partition.[23] This plan makes sense, when it is already on cards for too long and when the objectives of occupation have already been achieved.[24]
Greater Afghanistan

Despite all these plans of dividing Afghanistan and Pakistan, historical, social, economic, political and even security factors indicate that formation of Greater Afghanistan in inevitable. Interestingly all the forces of disintegration indirectly hasten such unification of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s policy since its inception has been focused on maintaining a situation that could help it avoid controversy over the Durand Line merging of the communities along this line. The chances of this merger are so obvious that the central government in Pakistan did not accept even naming the nameless NWFP according to the wishes of its people and unanimous resolutions of their representatives in provincial assembly, as if just naming it Pakhtoonistan or Pakhtoonkhwa would be enough for its separation from Pakistan.

One needs to ask if Pakistan and Afghanistan’s security is in staying unstable and exploited by outside forces or in uniting and forming greater Afghanistan. As far Pakistan’s security is concerned throughout its existence it has depended on major power wielders. This dependence is getting perilously in an environment in which Pakistan has to sacrifice its raison d’être and Islamic identity if it has to maintain the favored nation statu.

Cooperation with the US during the anti-Soviet was justified in the name of Islam and the US kept on feeding Pakistan for it was fighting its war. In the post 9/11 environment, Pakistan has to fight the US wars for domination and colonization if it has to remain in Washington’s good books. It has to get approval from Washington as to what kind of Islam it can follow. Pakistan has to live under perpetual dictatorship under the pretext of "assurance against any possible Talibanisation of the governance system"?[25] According to the same report the U.S. will accept "limited Islamisation" in Pakistan, as if it is the US which will approve and reject the “kind” and level of acceptable Islam for us.

It means Pakistan’s security and survival is conditional upon the pleasure of Washington. If it could please it, it will live; otherwise, there is no guarantee of its existence. Internally, except the opportunist politicians, people from almost all segments of the society are against the US sponsored dictatorship, which keeps the state as much unstable as its leaders living on borrowed time.

Pakistan’s deepening involvement in the hoax US war on terrorism against its own citizens further alienates its government from the public. Externally, the arms gap with India is as wide as ever. Furthermore, India’s alliance with Israel make the situation even worse for Pakistan.
As early as October 1995, Sandy Gordon predicted that in the21st century,

"India is poised to emerge… as a far more important and influential power in the Indian Ocean region, and even globally, than it was in the latter part of the 20th. Some of the constraining factors in India’s rise to power, particularly domestic and regional South Asian instability, are still present and will continue to snap at India’s heels for some years to come. But the end ofthe Cold War has also enabled India to jettison some of the more burdensome foreign and economic policies that had constrained it in the past…. [whereas] Pakistan, which has long been India’s only serious competitor in South Asia, has lost out seriously as a result of the end of the Cold War. While India suffers from internal instability, Pakistan’s problems are potentially far more serious."[26]
The incidents of 9/11 in particular have changed the view that Gordon may be overstating India’s ability to take advantage of the potential benefits to it of the Cold War’s end. Today, Pakistan’s diplomatic position both on the Afghan and Kashmir front is very weak in the sense that no one is ready to listen to it point of view. Just as the world is silent over Israel’s nuclear and chemical programmes and issuing warnings and dealines to Iran, Pakistan pleas for addressing the ever worsening human rights situation in Kashmir are falling on deaf ear. On top of it, enormous problems of rural poverty, disease, environmental degradation, and overpopulation remain largely unaddressed.

As a reward for Musharraf’s services, Washington’s decision to unclog the aid pipeline to Pakistan, however, scarcely begins to address Pakistan’s security dilemma. After all, Pakistan is still not considered fit for F-16 and other major military sales. Furthermore, beyond Islamabad’s present close relations to Washington, lies the greater security problem for Pakistan: the gradual drying up of any promising alliance prospects to serve Pakistan’s requirement for great-power insurance against joint Indo-Israel military might. Dream of an "Islamic bloc" solidly aligned behind Pakistan has failed utterly to materialize; and there are signs of etiolation as well in the fidelity to Pakistan even of China.

China’s record from the Gulf War I to war on Serbia, Afghanistan and then Iraq shows that if the going get really touch, it will not care more for the consistency of support for Pakistan over the past forty years. In recent years, Beijing has retreated to a conspicuously neutral position on Kashmir, unquestionably an important litmus test of friendship from Islamabad’s point of view, and China’s steadily expanding rapprochement with India, as Sandy Gordon has observed, "has provided India with a significant peace dividend in the context of its competition with Pakistan."[27]

On the Afghan front, Pakistan has completely lost trust of public in NWFP and Baluchistan, not to speak of feelings in the tribal areas. The geopolitical situation in Afghanistan on the other hand is, by any standard, extremely unstable. US and its allies have a very large stake in the stability of Karzai’s puppet regime. Pakistan, at least as much as any of the other external contenders, considers Afghanistan’s stability and its leaders’ pro-Pakistan orientation to be matters of the most vital state interest. However, other than using its armed forces on the directions from Washington, Pakistan is totally marginalized at the moment.

The viable option for addressing Pakistan’s vulnerable political geography and its military-demographic-economic weakness relative to India lies in Pakistan’s Union with Afghanistan. Irrespective of the present situation in which both Pakistan and Afghanistan are fully and partially occupied by the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan may apply the central argument of Huntington’s thesis, the "kin-country rallying"–” the mobilizing of interstate support systems or alliances on religious or civilizational grounds, in the first available opportunity.

In this regard, Pakistan’s past (the secession of Muslim East Bengal) and in its present (in regard to Afghanistan, for instance), clearly suggest that merely relying on a trans-state Islamic bond has very definite limits. Every state has its own policies and every state finds itself at odds not only with numerous groups within, but also with other states with which it is allied. Therefore, a symbolic Pak-Afghan Union would not work. It has to be a merger of these states into one greater Afghanistan within its former frontiers that include all the territory presently within Pakistan borders.

An obvious example that paves the way for the confederation with Afghanistan is February 2, 2002 editorial of The Friday Times, where it writes:

” the supergenerals… may have been thinking of some such strategic notion when he [Musharraf] recently said that Pakistan had to be friends with the Taliban because they were comprised of ethnic Pakhtuns who formed the main ethnic community of our own NWFP that borders Afghanistan. This leads us to postulate the supergenerals’ strategic thinking that a strong Pakhtun state in Afghanistan would suit Pakistan immeasurably more than a weak Pakhtun or non-Pakhtun state. Is that right? No, it isn’t….a weak non-Pakhtun dominated state in Afghanistan has never posed any threat to Pakistan because it has neither had any ideological bearings or religious extra-national ambitions nor any ethnic or sub-nationalist stirrings. On the other hand, whenever there has been a strong Pakhtun dominated state in Afghanistan…, its government has been compelled by the logic of its own composition to pander to ethnic nationalism by supporting Pakhtun separatism (refusal to accept the Durand Line) or try and export religious fundamentalism (Talibanism) to the NWFP and Balochistan… This would suggest that a strong Taliban state in Afghanistan, which combines the worst elements of ethnic Pakhtun nationalism and religious exclusivism, would eventually pose a threat to the territorial integrity and political solidarity of multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian, democratic Pakistan.”

Such bigoted views are completely at odds with the reality on the ground and founding concepts of Pakistan. There is no need to shed light on the so obvious anti-Pakistan feelings in the hearts of Persian speaking Afghans. Attitude and policies of pro-Indian Northern Alliance and its leaders are good examples for those who understand. With regard to Pakhtuns and NWFP, it is worth quoting what Ch. Rahmat Ali – the man who formulated the name and concept of Pakistan, said about ‘NWFP’ and the Pakhtoon people in his book “Pakistan: The Fatherland of Pak Nation” 1940:

"North West Frontier Province – is semantically non-descript and socially wrongful.  It is non-descript because it merely indicates their geographical situation as a province of old ‘British India’ [which no longer exists]. It is wrongful because it suppresses the social entity of these people.  In fact, it suppresses that entity so completely that when composing the name ‘Pakistan’ for our homelands, I had to call the North West Frontier Province the Afghan Province. "
Essentially what Rahmat Ali is saying is that the NWFP is a gross distortion because it is the British term for the North western region of their Indian empire that no longer exists.  Also, NWFP is not a Frontier as far as the indigenous population, the Pakhtoon, are concerned.  "It must be remembered that the Pathans are a great, gifted, and Pan-Islamic people.  This is borne out by History which records that they were the first to accept Islam and lay the foundations of its twelve-century rule in India; that they were the last to stop the fight against the British and the first to resume that fight on the Afghan and Baloch frontiers; and that they are the people one of whom, the writer, however unworthy, was blessed by Allah to create the Ideal of Pakistan. itself and start the fight for the realisation of that Ideal – the Ideal which so inspired all Muslims as to make them join the fight and establish this Fatherland which is the home and heritage of all Paks".

Finally, in his book, Ch. Rahmat Ali advocates a family re-union of our Asian and Indian homelands i.e. Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia. The views expressed by people associated with domestic secular-liberal movement and people advocating South Asian regional cooperation are indirectly paving the way for this reunion. From outside, the UN sanctions on Afghanistan, western attitude towards the Taliban and Pakistan, and now the seemingly indefinite occupation of Afghanistan are the main forces that would not disintegrate Pakistan and Afghanistan as their objective may be but it may lead to their least expected Union and further a federation with the neighbouring and ancestral Muslim homelands of Central Asia, Iran, etc. Commenting on the issue of pan-Islamic federation, Robert G Wirsing writes:
“This idea has gestated in Pakistani minds that both its vulnerable political geography and its military-demographic-economic weakness relative to India could be compensated for, at least to an extent, by expanding and deepening its ties to the many coreligionist states of the Islamic world… [However] the pan-Islamic option, for all its bluster and for all its promise, is for most practical purposes (and certainly for Pakistan’s basic security requirements) a fiction.”[28] 
Apparently it might seem that under present circumstances, Pakistan is coming up short of reliable Islamic allies, but attitudes of “liberal” elite in Pakistan, and policies and actions of the western nations suggest that the same forces are indirectly leading to developing a mindset among Pakistanis and Afghans that they are the same people facing common destiny and also reinforcing the trans-state Islamic bond. Besides the undeniable civilisational, political and  security need for Pakistan’s reunion with Afghnaistan, there is plenty of evidence that the rallying of Muslims to pan-Islamic causes has become a matter of some significance in the South Asian environment, particularly in a situation where the western powers are bent upon prematurely turning India into super power of the 21st century.
According to a report by Jyoti Malhotra, the British are now talking of a ‘partnership of equals’ between Britain and India in the new century.[29] To directly challenge the Indian and western efforts, Pakistan would be well advised to move towards substantive initiatives such as the notion of a ‘Community of Power’ to be evolved between Iran and Pakistan to begin with and gradually fanning out into Afghanistan and other Muslim states to form the eastern flank to the heart of Islam as it had been before it was broken up through the Mongol invasions beginning in 1221; then through infighting by the Afghans, Mughals and Safavids; and finally by the colonial legacy of the McMahon, Durand and Goldsmid Borders. Greater Afghanistan would play a pivotal role in the whole set up.
The above discourse is based on logical arguments in the light of history and current realities, which shows that Union of Pakistan and Afghanistan is both necessary, inevitable and possible. Any reference to religion has been purposely avoided to keep it understandable. If analysed from the religious point of view, there are authentic sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which show that there would be a strong government towards the Eastern side of Arab Peninsula, which will play a leading role in Islamic revival. The continued struggle in Afghanistan, the unflinching determination of both Afghans and Pakistanis never to live under occupation and the military strength that Pakistan has acquired are some of the indications towards realisation of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH)  prophesies  and the establishment of  Greater Afghanistan.


[1]. News report, daily Frontier Post, March 29,2000. See also Tanzeem-i-Islami web site

[2]. Sandy Gordon, "South Asia After the Cold War: Winners and Losers," Asian Survey 35 (October 1995): 894-95. For an extended discussion of the themes in this article, see Gordon’s recent study, India’s Rise to Power in the Twentieth Century and Beyond (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995). Gordon is a Fellow at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.

[3]. The Times Atlas of World History, Fourth Edition, 1993, Times Books, a division of Harper-Collins Publishers, 77-85 Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, London, W6 8JB, page 133.

[4]. Ibid. The Times Atlas, page 128, 129.

[5]. Williams, Jonathan. (1997). Money – A History.  Published for the Trustees of the British Museum by British Museum Press, a division of the British Museum Company Ltd, 46 Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 3QQ. ISBN: 0 7141 0885 5, page 121.

[6]. Bose, Sugata & Jalal, Ayesha.  (1998).  Modern South Asia – History, Culture, Political Economy,  London: Routledge, pg. 28

[7]. Ibid. Time Atlas, page 126-7.

[8]. Berinstain, Valeri. (1998). Mughal India – Splendours of the Peacock Throne. Thames and Hudson, 30 Bloomsbury Street, London. WC1B 3QP.  ISBN: 0-500-30083-6, page 21.

[9].  Ahmed, Akbar S. (1997). Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity. New York: Routledge. ISBN: 0-415-14966-5, pg. 37
[10] Eastern Eye – Independence Magazine (1947-1997); published by Ethnic Media Group. 148 Cambridge Heath Road, London E1 5QJ.  Tel:0171-702-8012. Fax:0171-702-7937, page.

[11]. Ludwig W. Adamec, “Greater Afghanistan, a missed chance,” written in Tucson (Arizona), January 1998. Published by Online Centre for Afghan Studies, 2001.

[12]. Thomas Holdich 1901, The Indian Borderland, (London: Methuen), p366, quoted in Griffiths op cit, p 36.

[13]. Daily Anis, Issue No., 87, July 3, 1949.

[14]. Durand Line Treaty annexed at the end.

[15]. Lawrence James 2000, Raj: The Making and Unmaking of British India (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin), page 475-477.

[16]. Mohan Guruswamy, “Scratch Across Pashtun Hearts,” Deccan Chronicle, July 18, 2003.
[17]. See for example W. P. S. Sidhu’s article, “Why the Durand Line is important,” in Indian Express, November 16, 1999. Sidhu is MacArthur Scholar at the Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford.

[18]. Asia-Pacific Daily Report, “Afghanistan seeks US help to renegotiate its border with Pakistan,”  Cenre of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance, August 29, 2003. See also: “America feels entangled in Durand Line dispute,” Daily Dawn, August 28, 2003.
[19]. M. B. Naqvi, “US Role in Pak-Afghan Conflict: An Elaborate Charade,” Deccan Herald, July 18, 2003.

[20]. Interview with Brzezinski by Vincent Javert in Le Nouvel Observateur, 15-21 Jan. 1998, p. 76, cited in John Cooley 1999, Unholy Wars, (Sterling: Pluto Press), p 19-20.

[21]. Ewen MacAskill 22 Dec. 2000, “Britain Fought to Block UN Sanctions Against Taliban,” The Guardian.
[22]. Syed Saleem Shahzad, “Pakistan Fears the Great Afghan Divide,” Asia Times, September 29, 2003.

[23]. “The United States is overtly trying to divide Afghanistan along Pakhtoon and non-Pakhtoon lines and it is covertly trying for fragmentation of Pakistan.” Dawn Report, “US trying to divide Afghanistan, claims scholar,” November 09, 2002.
[24]. “Washington and Moscow has reached an understanding to divide Afghanistan along ethnic lines, The Frontier Post learnt on Wednesday.” Fakh-ur-Rehman, “Plan to Divide Afghanistan,” The Frontier Post, November 01, 2001.
[25] Alam, Absar. "US okays MMA, Musharraf alliance," The Nation, June 02, 2003.

[26]. Sandy Gordon, "South Asia After the Cold War: Winners and Losers," Asian Survey 35 (October 1995): 894-95. For an extended discussion of the themes in this article, see Gordon’s recent study, India’s Rise to Power in the Twentieth Century and Beyond (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995). Gordon is a Fellow at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.

[27]. Gordon, "South Asia After the Cold War," 881.

[28].  Robert G Wirsing, Asian Affairs, an American Review, Washington; Summer 1996

[29]. published in the Indian Express, November 20th, 1999.



Whereas certain questions have arisen regarding the frontier of Afghanistan on the side of India, and whereas both His Highness the Amir and the Government of India are desirous of settling these questions by a friendly understanding, and of fixing the limit of their respective spheres of influence, so that for the future there be no difference of opinion on the subject between the allied Governnments, it is hereby agreed as follows: 

(I) The eastern and southern frontier of His Highness’s dominions, from Wakhan to the Persian border, shall follow the line shown in the map attached to this agreement.

(2) The Government of India will at no time exercise interference in the territories living beyond this line on the side of Afghanistan, and His Highness the Amir will at no time exercise interference in the territories lying beyond this line on the side of India. 

(3) The British Government thus agrees to His Highness the Amir retaining Asmar and the valley above it, as far at Chanak.  His Highness agrees on the other hand that he will at no time exercise interference in Swat, Bajaur or Chitral, including the Arnawai or Bashgal valley.  The British Government also agrees to leave to His Highness -the Birmal tract as shown in the detailed map already given to His Highness, who relinquishes his claim to the rest of the Waziri country and Dawar.  His Highness also relinquishes his claim to Chageh. 

(4) The frontier line will hereafter be laid down in detail and demarcated, wherever this may be practicable and desirable, by joint British and Afghan Commissioners, whose object will be to arrive by mutual understanding at a boundary which shall adhere with the greatest possible exactness to the line shown in the map attached to this agreement, having due regard to the existing local rights of villages adjoining the frontier. 

(5) With reference to the question of Chaman, the Amir thidraws his objection to the new British Cantonment and concedes to the British Government the rights purchased by him in the Sirkai Tibrai water.  At this part of the frontier, the line will be drawn as follows:

From the crest of the Khwaja Amran range near the Peha Kotal, which remains in British territory, the line will run in such a direction as to leave Murgha Chaman and the Sharobo spring to Afghanistan, and to pass half-way between the new Chaman Fort and the Afghan outpost known locally as Lashkar Dandi The line will then pass half-way between the railway station and the hill known as the Mian Baldak, and turning southwards, will rejoin the Khwaja Amran range, leaving the Gwasha Post in British territory and the road to Shorawak to the west and south of Gwasha in Afghanistan.  The British Government will not exercise any interference within half a mile of the road. 

(6) The above articles of agreement are regarded by the Government of India and His Highness the Amir of Afghanistan as a full and satisfactory settlement of all the principal differences of opinion which have arisen between them in regard to the frontier, and both the Government of India and His Highness the Amir undertake that any differences of detail, such as those which will have to be considered hereafter by the officers appointed to demarcate the boundary line, shall be settled in a friendly spirit, so as to remove for the future, as far as possible, all causes of doubt and misunderstanding between the two Governments.