Friday, February 13, 2009

brahma: COME TO TERMS WITH 'AFPAK' REALITIES

feb 13th, 2009

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brahma 

COME TO TERMS WITH 'AFPAK' REALITIES

Brahma Chellaney, a professor of strategic studies at the privately funded Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, is the author, most recently, of "Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India and Japan."

By Brahma Chellaney

Global Viewpoint

Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media

 

NEW DELHI -- Even as U.S. special representative Richard Holbrooke has embarked on his mission to find an answer to the Afghanistan-Pakistan predicament ("the Afpak problem" in Washingtonese), there is continuing reluctance in the international policy discourse to face up to a central reality: The political border between these two countries has now ceased to exist in practice.

The so-called Durand Line, in any event, was an artificial, British-colonial invention that left the large Pashtun community divided into two. Set up in 1893 as the border between British-led India and Afghanistan, the Durand Line had long been despised and rejected by Afghanistan as a colonial imposition.

Today, that line exists only in maps. On the ground, it has little political, ethnic and economic relevance, even as the "Afpak" region has become a magnet for the world's jihadists. A de facto Pashtunistan, long sought by Pashtuns, now exists on the ruins of an ongoing Islamist militancy but without any political authority in charge.

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http://chellaney.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!4913C7C8A2EA4A30!990.entry

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