Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan...

Time once again to check in on the forgotten war-
Scores of heavily armed Afghan troops and fighters from special border police units – determined, professional and evidently spoiling for a fight – gathered around their senior officers for orders...

...Yet the enemy was not the Taleban, nor an infiltrating column of al-Qaeda fighters. Instead, in the remote border district of ’Ali Kheyl in eastern Afghanistan, Afghan security forces have found themselves pitted against an older and bigger enemy: Pakistan.

Clashes between the two neighbours – two of the West’s biggest allies in the War on Terror – began here last Sunday morning when Paki-stani forces fired on an Afghan post at Toorgawe, a strategic point on the border. The fighting is the most serious of its kind for years...

Much of the recent tension is due to a Pakistani security fence-
...Pakistan has recently started building a security fence in selected areas of the border, ostensibly to halt the flow of insurgents. This, in turn, has provoked more Afghan wrath.

The Kabul Government does not recognise the border, drawn up by the British in 1893. Named the Durand line after Sir Mortimer Durand, then Foreign Secretary of the British Indian Government, the demarcation was intended to divide warlike Pashtun tribes antipathetic to British influence. Now Afghanistan sees the security fence as the de facto consolidation of a border dividing them from tribal areas in Pakistan that they claim as their own...

Another tribal war with U.S. troops caught in the middle. Did we end terrorism forever yet?

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