New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Taliban supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada recently warned the Islamists against "infiltrators and turncoats" in Afghanistan who could "destabilise" their government in the war-torn country. In a message to Taliban fighters, Akhundzada asked the militants to "purge their ranks".

"All those elders of their groups must look inside their ranks and see if there is any unknown entity working against the will of the government," he had said.

Akhundzada's message comes at a time when Pakistan has reportedly started 'blackmailing' Afghanistan over the Durand Line dispute. According to a report by The Singapore Post, Pakistan wants the Taliban to accept the Durand Line and the fence that is being constructed along the border.

However, the Taliban, as per The Singapore Post report, is "miffed" with Pakistan, but has made it clear to Islamabad that such conditions on the Durand Line were unacceptable.

What is Durand Line?

The Durand Line divides the traditional Pashtun homelands in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Its history goes back to the 19th century when Afghanistan used to act as a buffer state between the British government in India and Russian.

In 1983, the British government in India had signed the demarcating agreement with Afghanistan. The agreement was signed by British civil servant Sir Henry Mortimer Durand and Afghan ruler Amir Abdur Rahman after which it came to know as Durand Line.

One of the clauses of the agreement states that the Durand Line will be demarcated by 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 die regard to the existing local rights of villages adjoining the frontier".

However, the line divided the traditional Pashtun homelands in Afghanistan and Pakistan, creating chaos in the region. Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan believe that Durand Line indiscriminately divided and separated them from their family and land on either side.

Why Pakistan and Afghanistan are fighting over it?

Pakistan views Durand Line as critical to its survival as a Punjabi-dominated Sunni country and thus has started fencing it. The demand for 'Pashtunistan', an independent country of the Pashtuns, has also created panic in Islamabad, especially in the Army, following which the decision to fence it was taken.

According to a report by Al Jazeera, the USD 500 fence is 13 feet high on the Afghan side while it has a length of 11.6 feet on the Pakistani side.

Before the Taliban's takeover of Kabul, Afghanistan had always refused to recognise the Durand Line as an international border. However, with the Taliban's rise, Pakistan thought that it would be able to fence the Durand Line completely that will help it control the unrest and chaos in the region.

However, the Taliban has refused to make any commitment on the issue. In September, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid had made it clear that Afghans oppose the fencing of the Durand Line by Pakistan despite Islamabad's objections.

"The new Afghan government will announce its position on this issue. The fencing has separated people and divided families. We want to create a secure and peaceful environment on the border so there is no need to create barriers," he told a Pashto channel in Pakistan.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma