Henry Mortimer Durand takes a lot of hits in modern days. The line he negotiated between the government of Afghan Amir Abdur Rahman Khan and the British Raj in India split the Pashtun people in two, leaving one ungovernable half in Pakistan, and their equally tempestuous cousins in Afghanistan.
Pashtuns here, and Pashtuns there, but when the Punjabis take a hit – the Pakistani army is both traditionally and predominately Punjabi – there are apparently few tears shed on the Aghan side of the border:
The Afghan police general watched on television as Pakistani soldiers solemnly saluted the coffins of 24 of their comrades who were killed in a U.S. military airstrike Saturday.
The general stood up in disgust. “That’s the best thing America has done in 10 years here,” he said.
While U.S. officials from the war zone to the White House offered contrite condolences to the families of the dead and scrambled to repair the tattered relationship with Pakistan, Afghan officials have taken a tougher line. Frustrated by a Taliban insurgency they are convinced is supervised by and based in Pakistan, they have expressed little remorse, even accusing Pakistan of exaggerating the gravity of the situation to deflect attention from its own meddling in Afghanistan.
“It’s simply overreaction,” said the senior Afghan official, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. “We have suffered, they have suffered, I mean, come on. Our police and army people die in scores every day. And Pakistani civilians die every day. . . . This time, it’s been military casualties.”
A former Afghan official said Karzai is regularly frustrated by what he sees as the United States’ failure to take stronger action against Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan or pressure Pakistan’s military or intelligence agency to address the problem.
“We put all our eggs in the American basket,” he said. “The problem is, that basket has a huge hole in it, and it’s called Pakistan.”