Long after he died, Sir Mortimer Durand’s ghost continues to stalk the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan named after him. On Sunday, Afghan President Abdul Hamid Karzai said his country had the right to chase terrorists across the Durand Line.
Karzai’s statement came two days after the Taliban freed some 900 inmates from a jail in Kandahar. The various tribes across the border have familial and ethnic ties. Pakistan knows that militants make use of this. It has done little to control them. When there’s a military response, as when 11 people were killed in its Mohmand Agency by US forces from the Afghan side, it cries foul.
Pakistan has to decide whether it wants to quell the turmoil; indications are that it does not for its military strategy in that region has not worked. That chaos has now spread from its western border to once stable provinces. Now any action to tame terrorists takes an “Islam vs others” hue. The new government does not seem to have the wherewithal to control violence on the two sides of the Durand Line.