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Would creating a Pashtunistan solve Afghanistan’s troubles?

British 19th century politics wrecked Central Asia
Laura R. Standley
Tuesday 2 February 2010

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Since about the middle of January this year, I have been conducting an informal experiment here in America. I would post online on forums and in engage in casual discussions with my fellow Americans about Afghanistan. I posted the historical context of how the Pashtun and Baluchi peoples were carved up by borders created by the bygone imperialist aspirations of the British Raj and the Russians. I tell people that as long as we expect both countries to administer disparate peoples under foreign-imposed borders, the outcome will never improve. I suggested, by paraphrasing Muhammed Ali Jinnah’s argument in his "Call for a Muslim Nation," that the Pashtun culture was distinctive enough that they really ought to be a law unto themselves within their own borders. Not up to the border of Tajikistan, as they Taliban wanted, but rather in the districts where they are traditionally the majority in the south-central part of the country.

I also suggested that if Pakistan were willing to cede the traditional Pashtun lands within their borders, perhaps they could, in exchange, annex the Baluchi areas of Afghanistan to the Baluchistan province of Pakistan. It is less heartbreakingly disruptive to change the map through negotiation than to relocate populations. The history of Pakistan reflects the difficulty in managing large refugee movements with few resources, as most of the economic and administrative infrastructure bequeathed by the British were in India. For this reason, if Pakistan was willing to negotiate a land exchange to unite the Pashtuns, they should be entitled to assistance from the West to reset history and give them the start they deserve and should have had in 1947.

I even suggested that the United states should offer to recognize a Pashtun nation, separate from the Northern Alliance peoples, and cease aggressive military operations against the Pashtuns in exchange for Osama bin Laden and any al Qaeda remnants being surrendered into U. S. custody. The feedback I received from my suggestions was that it was it might work and Americans prefer their presence to be one of assistance, rather than aggression. It is the al Qaeda presence, after all, that brought the United States military to Afghanistan and made it into a dar-ul-harb, land of war.

In the twenty-first century, we should be at a point of global maturity to reject assumptions that we must maintain a status quo derived from bygone, far-off imperial aspiration, rather than have meaningful borders peacefully wrought from a desire to do right by the people who live there.

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  • hey Laura !

    you want to built a Zoo in between Afghanistan and Pakistan Iran . so go head and do it . and then you have to control and responsible for brake out of any animal from in said to out said too ? why you not take them to Israel where they are belong . shot shit’s idea is too easy . since 60 years we saw that this m f**** eat shit of afghan people and set to Pakistan and abuse us . and then same way they take all help from Pakistan and come to us and abuse Pakistani people . these idiot pashton are always used by out side against us and use name of Islam for success . sad sad .

    • hey Laura ! you want to built a Zoo in between Afghanistan and Pakistan Iran . so go head and do it .

      A Pashtun nation isn’t something I, as a outsider, can or should create. That was my point. My goal was to introduce a factual historical narrative where the different peoples of the region could save face, end hostilities and negotiate borders that actually relate to the people who live there. They used to serve the military logistical and operational range of empires that no longer exist. It was a tragic mistake for the Durand line to have been established which arrogantly carved up the Pashtuns and Balochis. The British Raj is gone, but the tragedy multiplies by people resigning themselves to share borders with cultures whose customs and social structure are fundamentally incompatible. This has brought instability and bloodshed to both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      I hope you would take comfort in the idea that if the Pashtuns had a country separate from the Northern Alliance peoples, they also have the responsibility of conducting themselves as a nation. Any hostile incursions into Northern Alliance lands or Pakistan would be considered an act of war and punishable by the international community. As it happened, the Taliban agression was just viewed as an internal matter while other Afghans were left to rot, flee or fight.

      If the Pashtuns had their own nation in the lands they traditionally inhabit, where they can abide by their own customs, then what purpose would the Taliban have to the Pashtuns? Pakistan could also be a little more stable, since the government there would not have to attempt to administer people who reject their authority. They would be in another country. Even though Pakistan recognizes the Durand Line border, it has come at a great cost to them. This is why I suggested a land exchange. Shifting the border to the east and north would be less traumatic and help unite the Balochi people.

      Only the Pakistanis and Afghans can do this for themselves to affirm their peaceful self-determiniation and reject old colonial impositions. As an American, I would support this. Anything that allows America to meet its security objectives and leave stable governments in place would let us leave with honor. If this doesn’t happen by summer 2011, it might help the Republican party sweep back into power and that would be bad for everyone. Just so you know our stake in this.

    • Creating a Pashtunistan would not solve any thing. The only solution for peace in the region not only Afghanistan but Iran, India is and would be the disintegration of Pakistan.

      Creation of Pakistan by British colonial power was the greatest crime of the 20th century whereby brother from brother and family from family have been divided.

      Time for world community to clean up this artificial boundary and allow people in both side of Abaseen river(Indus) to join India and Afghanistan. In the same way the DRG and Yemen joined its motherlands Pukhtuns and Baluchs in Pakistan should be allowed to join its motherland Afghanistan.

      This will also help to eleminate terrorism and Islamic extremism which is the result of division of subcontinent along side religion which was another crime of British empire.

    • While the British established the Durand Line and the border with India, the concept of Pakistan came from Muslims under the British Raj. They knew that once India attained its independence from Britain, the governmental and economic institutions would be dominated by Hindus. They campaigned for a separate Muslim nation to fulfill their vision of a government in the context of Islamic social order an avoid religious persecution.

      The interesting historical parallel is that the Massachussetts Bay Colony in America was established by a group of British people of the Puritan Christian Sect who wanted a separate place to have a government that conformed to their ideals for social order. As more of the East Coast of North America was colonized, different Christian sects emigrated there seeking religious sanctuary away from England and sectarian violence erupted in the American Colonies. In fact, the colonies of Maryland and Rhode Island were established as a sanctuary for Catholics, who were being executed in other colonies. For this reason, the American Founding Fathers decided that, when America declared its independence from Britain, it should be a secular state.

      America and Pakistan are both former British possessions formed on the basis of religious freedom. They are both contrived, perhaps America even more so, since the vast majority of its people are parallel to the mujahir of Pakistan. America took the path of secular government with most of the authority in the hands of the states, which is why we are the United States of America. Muhammed Ali Jinnah was a romantic in his idea that Islam could transcend any cultural and sectarian differences.

      Pakistan, exists due to the passionately held convictions its citizens have been willing to die for. One must negotiate with the countries that exist to get the ones we want. Jinnah made his case for Pakistan by espousing two ideas; unity of the group and respectful separation from other groups. A case can likewise be made for Pashtunistan by uniting its people within one nation while separating them from the groups with whom they are imcompatible due to irreconcilable cultural differences.

      Logically, establishing a Pashtun nation would solve the problems caused by carving them up between two countries. The act of doing so through referendum and negotiation between two sovereign nations would be an unparallelled act of self-determination to begin to right wrongs centuries in the making.

      Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it would not have been built at all if the first stone wasn’t laid.

    • dear laura

      to create pashtunistan is a dream come true for the afghans or pashtun who have been suffering since the russian invasion of afghanistan.

      i strongly agree with you that it will end terrorism as the main cause of all destruction in afghanistan is the durand line.
      pakistan will use any ideology to manipulate the pashtuns of both side to kill the idea of pashtunistan...prime example is killing and imprisonment of pashtun nationalists ie khan ghafar khan who wanted to unite pashtuns
      as result of all this manipulation the pashtuns never got the chance to get proper education which is a key solution to all sorts of problems, although they are the largest tribe in the world and the largest ethinic in afghanistan but coz of the lack of education, they have very less representation in afghanistan don’t count hamid karzai as his cabinet is surrounded by non pashtuns. the non pashtuns are against this idea so it is a very difficult situation.

      i hope your campaign comes to reality in the future to save lives of pashtuns and the soldiers who are trying their best. you might get all the negative reply as the majority of pashtuns themself have not got access to internet. goodluck coz many pashtuns have lost their lives even thinking of this issue but that is in pakistan and afghanistan area lolz

    • Oh... my... God! Do you have any idea what an important fact you revealed by mentioning Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan!?!?! You see, a Wikipedia search on his name leads to an article on Khudai Khidmatgar... After I read those two articles, I held my head in my hands shaking it thinking, it explains so much... It explains the rancor toward Mohammed Ali Jinnah, it explains the Afghan affinity for India, the schism among the Pashtuns in the NWTP and FATA... U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Khan Ghaffar Khan in a speech in September 2009, but I don’t think she had any idea about the historical context with Khudai Khidmatgar and the NWTP referendum in 1948. Can you imagine how much different American foreign policy toward Afghanistan would be if those things were common knowledge to the American public?

      If the Khudai Khidmatgar could’ve been re-established in Afghanistan with the more goals on non-violence and Afghan Pashtun social reform, it would’ve been a worthy indigenous movement to counteract the foreign interventionist influence of the Taliban and the U. S. and many worthwhile NGOs would’ve supported it. No doubt the non-violent aspect of the movement would appeal to the other ethnic groups after fighting to shrug off the yoke of the Taliban. The reaction of Pakistan toward the re-establishment of Khudai Khidmatgar could possibly bring foreign media attention to the conflict and provide valuable insight into the regional historical context that is so sadly lacking in how the West treats Afghanistan. Seriously, you have no idea how little the West knows about this. And they really need to.

    • laura !

      this two head khan and he is political party of " Khudaie khedmat gar " are mad by babo ghandi . ghandi start friend ship with this two head khan i means khan abdul ghafar khan to add pashtun of NWF of india to Indian Congress party before separation of Pakistan from India , and this was a strong political move toward of pashtun who just separated from Afghanistan by British . in this way babo ghandi knew that India going to divide in tow stat . ghandi had many trap to home of 2 head khan . he knew that pashtun are brave fighters but they are not educated at all and easy for any one to use them for there agenda and proposes . and then we saw that pashtun use to kill he is own people to name of Islam and to name of Farsi wan and other lot of reason . after Islam now pashtun are in hand of CIA and no one know where this pashtum story going to end up .

    • So, if I understand you correctly, are you saying that Gandhi helped create the political party of which you speak in order to undermine M. A. Jinnah’s attempts to establish a Muslim state? Hmmm... That’s not how I read it and even if it were true, the stated principles of Khudai Khidmatgar still have intrinsic value. They are still important goals.

      What would have been the purpose of Gandhi creating a Pakistan opposition party of Pashtuns, considering that the Punjab and Sindh provinces stood between India and the NWTP?

      The passion with which Gandhi, Jinnah and Khan held their convictions was vital to accomplishing their goals, yet I feel a lot of misery could’ve been avoided if they had understood and respected the validity of what the others valued. Maybe they could have developed solutions and we wouldn’t be where we are now.

      On the other hand, once we know the causes of the conflicts, work can be done to undo it if people are committed to doing so.

  • the people who live there. They used to serve the military logistical and operational range of empires that no longer exist

    hi :

    look pashun never join army of Afghanistan like other afghan community . they use like ahamd sha baba abdali by Arab to name of Islam to kill poor Hindu and in resent time Nader klhan use by Briton against afghan and mullah umr again use by Arab and Pakistan by hep of CIA to destroy us . even in peace time army man from north take care of security of pashtun area . theses pashtun are not afghan they are yahoodi and the real father of this pashtum are Israel . and they jaw are believing that the son of moss who was lost 2500 year ago . was ( pathan ) means pastun who now founded in south of Afghanistan .

    • My understanding of the Pashtuns was that they were mentioned in accounts of Alexander the Great over two thousand years ago. The location of the land they inhabit is one of the very few points of access into the Indian subcontinent, so there were many peoples transiting the area, to possibly include Jews exiled either after the Babylonian conquest of Israel or the Roman Diaspora. Some Jews from the Babylonian exile even made it to China to Kaifung. I met one.

      I’m sure there are also genetic traces of Greek and Persian among the Pashtuns as well.

      If they had their own country, they would have to stand up their own army and their defense would no longer be anyone else’s concern. I know they want their own country because:

      1. They said so. A Pashtun posted a presentation on YouTube with a map showing his concept of Pastunistan going all the way up to the Tajik border with an independent Balochistan to the south.

      2. While the Tajiks and Uzbeks are interspersed through the north with the Hazaras neatly in the middle, the Pashtuns remain one group, not mixing with anyone.

      3. Their culture pre-dates Islam and is distinctive enough from everyone in the north that a different political administration would suit them better than what would serve the Northern Alliance peoples. What use would a parliament with political parties be to someone whose political association is clan and tribe? Representation by family is still representation.

    • You are a slant eyed, flat nosed ingrate Mongolian and you call Pashtuns...Jews. Which history book did you read my Hazara friend? The name Afghan means Pashtun and Afghanistan was created by Pashtuns. Pashtuns were gracious hosts to allow all you Chinese looking people to stay in the land of the Pashtuns as our servants. As far as the military is concerned, the Afghan military’s rank and file was made up of minorities but all the officers and generals were Pashtuns. Get your facts straight my ignorant, short, smelly, noodle eating Hazara brother.

      Uzbeks have Uzbekistan, Tajiks have Tajikistan, Turkomans have Turkmenistan, Hazaras have Mongolia, Qizilbash have Iran and Afghan Pashtuns have Afghanistan and it is only a matter of time before all you mantu eating Mongolian bastards will be sent packing to the above mentioned lands.

    • @April. You are a slant eyed, flat nosed ingrate Mongolian and you call Pashtuns...Jews. Which history book did you read my Hazara friend? The name Afghan means Pashtun and Afghanistan was created by Pashtuns. Pashtuns were gracious hosts to allow all you Chinese looking people to stay in the land of the Pashtuns as our servants. As far as the military is concerned, the Afghan military’s rank and file was made up of minorities but all the officers and generals were Pashtuns. Get your facts straight my ignorant, short, smelly, noodle eating Hazara brother.

      Uzbeks have Uzbekistan, Tajiks have Tajikistan, Turkomans have Turkmenistan, Hazaras have Mongolia, Qizilbash have Iran and Afghan Pashtuns have Afghanistan and it is only a matter of time before all you mantu eating Mongolian bastards will be sent packing to the above mentioned lands.

  • they specially bring this LOC Durand issue to field to create more conflict between people of Afghanistan . you look nicely in both said of LOC there’s no one accept pashton , then you want to give freedom for whom . or why you want to create pashtonistan out of Afghanistan ? when in both said of line of control are pashtun living like thousand of years and for travailing to north or south of this so called LOC they no need any kind of visa or ID card , it means this pashton enjoy life geographically more then any other nation in this planet . then why you want to create pashtonistan for them . you can create ENGLISHTAN and then call Briton to came and fix them self as peace keeper and create from poor pashtoon ( sir ) or ( Kent ) or other British idiotic name and position .

    • I am sure many readers of my article feel as you do. Am I correct in assuming you think I presume too much, as an American outsider, to come in and reward, with national sovereignty, a people who conducted hostile military operations and religious persecution, as well as hosted individuals who planned and trained to commit acts of terrorism against my country?

      I am not suggesting creating a nation of Pashtunistan as a favor to the Pashtuns. I also don’t respresent any government and don’t have the authority to grant "freedom" to anyone. I am certainly not making my suggestions as a reward for their hostile actions. I also expected that my suggestions would not be well received and that I’d have to defend my opinion. I wrote what I did as a set of regional processes to:

      • get rid of the tragic legacy of the Durand Line,
      • stabilize and secure the north, as well as a Pakistan,
      • start to unite the Balochis,
      • secure United States security interests quickly to eventually leave,
      • reduce or eliminate interference from certain other countries in your affairs,
      • provide territorial limits for the Pashtuns in which they can govern themselves consistent with their socio-economic structure and international law.

      It’s not a perfect solution, but it does benefit all parties and provides contructive negotiations between the countries as they currently exist. I know a popular suggestion has been to get rid of Pakistan, but let’s just assume that’s not going to happen. After so many decades of violence and nine years of United States involvement, I have not seen a more effective solution put forward. If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we’ll get the results we’ve always gotten.

    • Afghan Pashtuns don’t care to unite with Pashtuns from Pakistan and vice versa. Stop all this nonsense talk of creating a united Pashtunistan and dividing Afghanistan.

      The Balkanization of Afghanistan will only further weaken an already weak nation with an identity crisis. The minorities of Afghanistan need to wake up to the fact that they will be at each others throats the minute they get their own Northernallianceistan. Uzbeks and Tajiks don’t care for each other and they certainly don’t care for the Hazaras; only the Pashtuns are culturally and politically savvy enough to rule over these ingrate minorities and we have done it well since 1747.

      Pashtuns are the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan and they are the rightful heirs of this nation. Afghanistan is synonymous with Pashtuns, but we also accept our minorities and we have dealt with them justly for most of Afghanistan’s history.

  • I would be very naive to compare America and her establishment to Porkistan a country which has no history, no culture no any legal basis other than to be part of Indian and Afghanistan history and culture.

    America was established in a time when states were coming to life and was a completely different time.

    Pakistan( Porkistan) is a product of 20th century cold was exactly like East Germany and Yemen and South and North Korea. That should come to an end one day.

    Pakistan is a country that exist at the cost of division of two other countries and in particular Afghanistan where Pashtuns and Baluchs are deprived from their brother and sisters and from their families.

    Pakistnan was established after British realised that they can’t any more keep India under its rule. In order to have a place in the region they committed their greatest crime and divided two countries to have a slave state.

    Ali Zena or Ali Jena was a British Agent, who like a true slave betrayed Great Gandhi and the spirit of an independent and united India. That was the reason that Gandhi other fellow fighter Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan called him as fake as the Pakistan it self.

    Present Pakistan is good for Punjabis but majority of Baluchs and Pukhtuns never will accept it as their homeland.

    • History is the story of people and people are more alike than they are different. America has experienced religious sectarian violence, two wars with the British and a Civil War that had been brewing for decades before the Confederacy seceded. We also even have separatists, racial and ethnic tensions, as well as Christian extremists (small minority) who we now refer to as "the American Taliban." They had a lot more power under President Bush and oppose President Obama.

      The Durand Line was established in 1893 and Pakistan was established in 1947, so the offending border was already there. Ali Jinnah didn’t get the border with India he wanted, nor did he get Jammu and Kashmir.

      I agree with your statement that the Balochis and Pashtuns might not regard themslves as Pakistani. It seems from what I’ve read, it’s always the Punjabis who tout Pakistani unity; nobody else.

      I also understand the rancor of Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras toward Pakistan, since they provided support to the Taliban. But look at it this way; if the Pashtuns had an internationally recognized nation, your (I assume you’re from the northern part of the country.) border with Pakistan would be so much shorter, if any, and the Pashtuns would be less willing be used by Pakistan to wage a proxy war against you. They would have too much to lose. What would Pakistan mean to you at that point?

      My suggestions in the article were a system of negotiations that could be used to peacefeully create real countries by the people who live there. I know the idea of Pastunistan is not new. What I have never seen or heard from anyone else, was that it be limited to where the Pashtun are native and historically dominant and that land be traded with Pakistan in a manner using the same arguments Ali Jinnah used to justify the creation of Pakistan. If the Balochis of Afghanistan wanted to be part of Balochistan in Pakistan, they would be divided still, but among fewer countries and hopefuly someday be able to be united and independent as well. The negotiations also can give America what it needs to end military operations in a way that meets everyone’s needs.

    • M:r Tanwir , I know you very well and we exchaged our ideas in Dari many times and you admited also that you are very week against my arguments.
      Please read cerefully:
      I must say that you have psycological problems ,or in another word you are living in crazy Dawood Khan’s time who had such a crazy dream like you . He wanted expand Afghanistan to Pakhtons dominant areas with help of ex Soviet Union. He wanted to minimize other ethenic groups to garantee his iron family dictatorship generation after generation. This is impossible No body let you to creat any adventure in the region for the sake of your own ambitions. To creat a great Afghanistan a crezy dream land just for crazy people like you. In this century the long history or short histtory for the nations doesn’t play any roll. You must know that the mejority Pasktons have accepted the whole stablishment of Pakistan for a long time. These Pasktons fought with India three times on Kashmir issues. No Pakhton in Pakistan want seperation from Pakistan att all. Only a few number who wants to get benefit from both sides Afghanistan and Pakistan by usning the name of Pakhton’s nationalism. In reality there is no any reall Pakhton nationalism in Pakistan. Yer ,there are som problems with Baloch in Quita and they have a seperitiv movemen but they are not strong. The Pakistani authority can deel with them.

    • Mr Tanweer

      Great post.

      By this post you also revealed the faces of filthy Paki Punjabis of this forum who hide themselves under the names of citizens of Afghanistan.

      I fully do agree with you.

      Pakistan is an artificial boundary and it should comes to an end and given to right owners Great India and Great Afghanistan.

  • Hello Laura,

    Let me tell you first it has been the goal of Americans and Russians, as well, to change the map of Afghanistan by deviding it into parts. As an Afghan and citizen of Kandahar i am strongly against your idea, though my comments are not to discourage you helping bring peace in Afghanistan.

    Lawfully, if you should struggle for, that should be to wipe out the durand line as it was imposed on Afghans as there was no national consensus made in Afghanistan regarding separating these areas from Afghanistan. And we do believe that Abdul Rahman Khan’s tenacity was in debate and that only the english version of the agreement was signed by him. Additionally, the Durand Line agreement was signed for a century and a decade - which no more should be in effect, however, that is your International Law which does not concede this unfortunate crime committed by Colonial British.

    Meanwhile, i wouldn’t agree with the process of annexation as neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan has the ability to annex the states into each other, but what i would suggest is to campaign for reunification for the time being unless Afghanistan is stable enough to argue the validity of the crime of H.M Durand!

    Afghanistan again is a buffer state and the term of GREAT GAME - that was being used during the rivalry of Russian and British Empires - continues as USA, China, Russia and other NATO countries are fighting their way for Central Asian oil pipelines, and the heart of asia is Afghanistan - who would simply ignore this ’jewel in the crown’?? So that is why America and its so-called alies are here and Taliban and terrorism is solely a pretext.

    If you want to implement a strategy that would finally allow U.S and NATO troops to leave successfully, leaving no mess behing, the following are the best options:

    1. Help Afghanistan build a powerful army that can defend its territory from invasion from neighboring countries.
    2. End curruption
    3. Install a government that is favorable to the whole nation
    4. Provide economic and military assistance without intervention and command
    5. Build electric turbines and make considerable investments in opening factories - which has been the dream of Afghans, and etc.....

    Again, currently we must work for Political Rehabilitation in Afghanistan and for reunification of Pashtuns in both side of the border, without deviding Afghanistan.

    A person from northern alliance is and will be my brother from another mother :)

    In hope of seeing Afghanistan as Ahmad Shah Baba Abdali had created.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful, honest reply. There are a lot of things, as you say, that need to happen before Afghanistan can experience peace and stability. There are also many different ways the goal can be achieved, but only with the goodwill of the Afghan and Pakistani peoples BOTH. A mutally acceptable solution is the only one that will last, as it’s the one that carries the mandate of the people and requires the least amount of political will to enforce. In my observation, and you may correct me if I’m wrong, I see multiple schisms among the Pastun people. In Pakistan, they are divided among those who accepted the British Raj’s way of administration and those who chose not to. In Pakistan’s Constitution, the latter might be the ones referred to as "backward peoples." I was saddened to read that, as it demonstrated the violence that colonialism wrought on the psyche of those formerly under the British Raj. In any case, the Pashtuns in Pakistan who offered me their opinion on the matter were adamantly Pakistani nationalists. One cited a number of instances in which the Durand Line had been ratified by treaty. In my opinion, if it’s taken five treaties and matter still is not resolved in a satisfactory manner, than the location of the border seems problematic. Among Afghans, in the example given by yourself and another poster to this article, some Pashtuns want a sovereign state and some, like yourself, do not.

      It is not uncommon for good people to hold opposing positions. If there is no consensus on Pashtun sovereignty, yet there are those who desire it, one should ask the question of what they hope sovereignty will achieve and can those goals still be met in the framework of a multiethnic Afghanistan. Within the United States, each state entered with it’s own system of representative government and its own constitution with checks and balances between federal and state authority. As long as governments can meet the needs of their peoples, they don’t all have to look alike.

      If you had been witness to the early history of the United States, you would see how much alike we are. In the decades leading up to the American Civil War, there were times our nation was on the utter brink of disintegration. In Kansas, neighbors were killing each other and men literally invaded from a neighboring state to overrrun the polling places during the vote for statehood. Near martial law was imposed and restrictions placed upon the populace in some towns that rival those of the Taliban. Such lessons make it unconscionable for me, as an American to sit in judgement over your difficulties.

    • Najeeb,
      I forgot to mention that America does NOT want to carve up Afghanistan, unless the Afghans want that for themselves. The authority to "change the map of Afghanistan" is under the authority of the Loya Jirga, if I remember my reading of the Afghan Constitution correctly. There is no role for America written into the Afghan Constitution.

      Also, were you aware that the House of Representatives in the U. S. Congress held a vote in March on whether to vacate Afghanistan 30 days from the resolution’s implementation? It was House Conjoined Resolution 248. It was opposed by a majority and referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. If you want to know what America’s goals are for Afghanistan, here is the statement of opposition written by the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman: http://foreignaffairs.house.go... Please share this link as widely as possible, so everyone can operate under shared assumptions. The conditions for America’s departure might be mentioned therein. As you read the statement, a good question to bear in mind is, "What can the Afghan people do for themselves to hasten the U. S.’s departure under good terms?"


    • To establish peace and stability in the region the only way remaining way is disintegration of Porkistan=Pakistan as an illegal boundary.

      This is the region cancer which destabilize not only Afghanistan but Great India too.

      The establishment of Pakistan was the greatest crime of 20th century and this country since 1947 is living on military means. Therefore is Porkistan is forces to close terror basis and stop supporting extremists it will disintegrate, which is the only way to bring peace and eliminate terrorism.

    • .. you idiot have problem with mother fucker government of Pakistan not with people of Pakistan . if you idiot remember ( idiot - muhtama gahndi ) spiritual leader of your fucking great India divide India in pieces and even this idiot provide fund for establishment of Pakistani in 1947 from Indian government budget . and then he killed by one another idiot Indian in day light in street of Delhi just one year after dividing India to east and west Pakistan . now if you have eye , look to every manners and aspect of Indian life and society and then you well find out that India with out Urdu speaking is a big spiritual world class grave yard . even freedom fighter idiot ( BHAGAT SINGH ) was from ( kawa kot village of Lahore ) and many more . . shut up . .

      and :

      pashtunistan going to create by pentagon and CIA in bamian area of Afghanistan asp schedule . give CIA time . . they just create out of Taliban a new army to name of ( fucking kuchi ) and then this kuchi well be destroy all area . . i means Pakistan & Iran and Uzbek and Tajikistan and then they well be in year of 2050 as late as 2070 destroy by another bread of pentagon military . by .

    • So, you’re upset and I’m not exactly sure why... and I’m not a mind reader.

      The only way to peace is to talk to those with whom you disagree and come up with ways to meet mutual goals.

      The problem I experience talking to people from Afghanistan and and Pakistan who have opposing views is that nobody talks to each other. Everyone seems to think they know what everyone else wants and what everyone else is thinking. This does nothing but breed misconceptions.

      If you disagree with me, as many have, tell me why.

    • look you have to go back to your cave ( American ) and have no any business with me , other ways pick up the gun and shoot me or other ways i am going to cut your head . this is all story in Afghanistan . American should be go back to there cave , , then we afghan & Indian and Pakistani and irani solve our problem one way or other . until American are here . . there’s no peace at all .

    • The people of the world can’t go back to their caves. Technology and travel has connected everyone in the world and the situation in Afghanistan has brought tragedy to American shores as well. A vast number of Americans are displeased with the misguided and arrogant elements of the U. S. policy in Aghanistan.

      Since you chose to express yourself with your finger on a keyboard instead of a trigger, I will give you this:

      On behalf of myself and the great many Americans who lament the needless loss of life and destruction that our government has wrought in Afhganistan through its ignorant and misguided policy, we are truly sorry.

  • This is a good link created by a Sindhi who also want to divide Pakistan =Porkistan.


  • Dear Laura,

    It is understandable that in case of Afghanistan, division seems to be the best possible answer. But honestly, it isn’t. Division without administration is even worse than the current state. It will only result in yet another buffer state, a safe haven for all those who want the division to happen.

    Internation Community is not in Afghanistan because the Taliban didn’t know how to rule the country. They are here because Human Rights were serverely being violated plus the advent of 9/11. The reason itself tells us the answer to the problem, which is education. Even if we ignore the Taliban era most of the cultural practices in Afghanistan are still barbaric and midevil. The only way we can get rid of that is through education and the introduction of new practices, and by the submission to the general Laws of country; not the cultural practices. The more they learn the better they can differentiate the right from wrong.

    Another way of taming Afghans is to privatize the market. Have them invest their money in businesses thereby creating a risk factor? If powerful people have their money invested in businesses inside Afghanistan they will try to protect it instead of destrying it so automatically you will have both development and security...

    As far as external elements causing the problem is concerned, we as Afghan have to sit on the negotiating table and start negotiating. Creating new territories would mean added mess in the region.

    • Dear Laura!!!

      Who are you to speak on our peoples behalf to americans (foregin people)?
      This is our own peoples problem the only thing we want from foreginers and foregien countries specialy USA and UK not to support a special ethinicty groups.
      Leave our people to bring real democracy for themselves.
      Till now foreginers and foregin countries specially americans and british have supported Pushtun Mujaheedien, Taliban, Zahir Sha’s Group and Muhamed Zayee or specially helped and supported pushton groups so they are in power in politics.


      The only way is that the pushtuns should leave being a slave to pakistan and the pushtuns should live with all our WATAN people equally and like brothers. Not like enemy.

      most of our people don’t agree for Pashtunistan to be united with us.
      we haven’t seen any good from our countries pushtuns forget the others.
      The best thing for Pakistan is to divide to 3 countries like Pashtunistan, Balochistan And Punjab.


    • موش بیچاره خود به سوراخ اش داخل شده نمی تواند جاروب را نیز به دمش بسته کرده است
      بگذرید از این شعار های میان خالی یکجا شدن پشتونستان با ما نه اوغانهای انجا میخواهند که باما یکجا شوند و نه مردم ما علاقه به خیمه و غژدی انان دارند همچنان توان و طاقت وامکانات نیز در اختیار ما خوشبختانه قرار ندارد .

    • Hi Laura!
      I am sorry for my first commernt that was irelevent with your article. But when I read the whole article of yours, I became convinced that the creation of a new independet land for Pakhtons in the region with the hielp of international communety is a good idea . I must say that I suporting this idea. if the Pakistani tribes over the part of the Duranline Pakhton will stand upp for their wrights..

    • I am totally reject Mr. Khan’s estremist idea when he asks Laura that who are you to speak behalf af our people. This qustion is not logic now when the in USA is a key player rolll. . And it is also to metioned that all mankinde in this world need each other the stroner must suport the weaker, . In present situation we need the countries like USA an UK to help us and suport us agains our neighbors that each one of them suport especial gruop in our country.
      To avoid to become l like a country Somilia the only way is that the Pashtonistan must be created by the help of the internationl community. And this is a proper time for it

    • Mr. Khan,

      If you want to speak to the American public on your own behalf, America has hundreds of online newspapers where you can make your feelings and policy recomendations known. In fact, I really wish you would. The best people to advance the Afghan cause to Americans are Afghans.

      A few things, though...

      Be prepared to educate the American public (a lot) on the various ethnic groups and the historical context of the conflicts. Whatever you may think of my level of knowledge on Afghanistan, it exceeds that of the average American.

      Your English vocabulary is pretty good, but your grammar and writing style would tax the patience of most Americans. I make the effort to understan your writing because I have more than a casual interest in what Afghans tell me.

      "Who are you to speak on our peoples behalf to americans (foregin people)?"

      • I am the American who listens to you and makes the effort to make sense out of what has been happening.
    • Dear Laura and گربزخان محترم!!!
      I said that America should’nt play with the destiny of the third world.
      I have the right to ask a foreginer that who gave them the right to speak on behalf of our people and our country.
      Most of our countries people and the world don’t have a problem with USA people they have a problem with the politicians of USA and europe.
      USA should support all of our ethinic groups and real democracy not just one specific group.
      You have said the USA have advanced afghans this is a very funny joke our people haven’t come from the jungles of Amazons USA didn’t exist when our country had culture,history...
      Most of the world’s people and our people ask the USA why they have created the Talibans, Alqaeeda,afghan Mujahedeens... and suported Sadam, Muhamed al qazafi (leader of LIbiya) and most of the arabic countrie’s leaders
      and why they support the wrong and unjust Israli and Pakistan’s politics.

      why do Americans support the drugs, biocracy and newnasist ’ and Karzai’s government .
      I am not a writer I don’t need to correct and improve my grammer nor did I want to ask the USA public anything. This was because you are holding your USA passort on one hand and on the other hand holding a pen and speaking on our people’s behalf.

    • سلام دوستان !!
      ما به کمک جامعه جهانی ضرورت داریم کمک واقعی و بی غرضانه در همه امورحتا موجویت قوای نظامی انان بلمقابل ما هم تعهد ها و مکلفیت های در قبال جامعه جهانی داریم هدف من این نیست که ما از کمک های انان چشم پوشی بکنم !! مثل دودولت در چار چوب های حقوقی ملل جهان این همیاری ها باید صورت بگیرد .
      اما نباید اروپا و امریکا از یک گروه بخصوص قومی وسیاسی در وطن ما و سایر کشور ها پشتبانی کنند بد بختانه جامعه جهانی طی این چند سال اخیر از دولت فساد مخدر و قبیلوی کرزی پشتبانی کرده است بازسازی و اعمار مجدد برابر پیش نمی رود ولایات ی است که از باز سازی ...خبری دران ها نیست .
      درست است که امریکا یک کشور بزرک قوی با اقصاد شگوفا و خدمات ارزنده ای را به بشر به ارمغان اورده است و ما به کمک انان ضرورت داریم ولی نباید حاکمیت و ازدی مردم ما از جانب انان نقص شود

    • A right to ask questions and try to understand what’s going on isn’t a right anyone can give. What you call me speaking out on others’ behalves is asking questions and exchanging historical information, insights and ideas.

      Neither I, nor the U. S. government favor one ethnic group over any others. My wish is for the peace and safety of ALL the peoples in the region. If the Pashtuns seems to be the focus of so much attention, it’s more a consequence of their geographical location and historical schisms among themselves, I think. Those things have been exploited in ways that have ended badly for everyone. Efforts to find solutions for those problems would benefit everyone.

      The generation before mine (America and the USSR) acted according to certain geopolitical philosophies that created some tragic, unintended consequences for different parts of the world and deep conflicts within America itself. They thought they were acting on the best information they had at the time for their own security interests. Now we are all paying the price.

      Americans are deeply conflicted about conducting military operations in Afghanistan because there exist a few similarities with the American experience in the Viet Nam which nearly tore our nation apart. We also don’t want to take up the mantle of colonialism. This is why the U. S. policy has been so frustrating and half-hearted. You and I know this is an overly simplified way of looking at it, but that’s how they talk about it.

  • I must repead my view again: This is the time that USA and the world put pressure on Pakistan to hand over the Pakhton areas to Kabul without any conditions , like UK did to China the HONG kong. In this regads a new mapp is created.Both countries must take responsibiity to obey the new agreement and respect each other’s border Afghanistan must have a transite way Persian Gulf and way to the ocean through Gawader border in Qauta. This is the only way if we want to tacke terorism and religios extrimism. Now we have lots of origen Afghan Americans in USA to can play the roll of lobby for their netive land, and this is a gulden appotunity to everyone to do someting for the next generations in this part of the world. I want that Pakistan must be devided . This is in favar of every one including USA Pakistan and Afghanistan.
    Gurbuz Atakhel

    • "Now we have lots of origen Afghan Americans in USA to can
      play the roll of lobby..."

      Good! The American public needs to hear Afghan voices and ideas, since most Americans are too scared to approach Afghans themselves. The Bush administration led a campaign convince Americans that Afghanistan and the Muslim world were a threat to our way of life. I don’t believe it, obviously. (I never voted for Bush!) In fact, when I confided to an acquaintance that I felt I needed to talk to people from Afghanistan to share ideas, she feared Osama bin Ladin himself would issue a fattwah calling for my death simply for discussing these matters with you. I dismissed her concerns and have never regretted my decision.

      If Afghans in America want to have any influence over public discussion, they could let America know they are there. Write letters to the editor of newspapers, post on news forums and blogs where America can see them. Appeal to common humanity. Winning hearts and minds can be played BOTH ways.

      If Afghans in America want to influence the U. S. government, they can do that too. They have the same right as everyone else to write to members of Congress, become activists, speak out at town hall meetings. If they are citizens, they can register to vote and join political parties.

      But here’s the thing... Pick ONE narrative that doesn’t force Americans to choose sides against any group. They will balk if you do. If you go back far enough, everyone has the right to be aggrieved about something.

  • Dear Lura,

    Thank you for your brilliant idea ,the article and nice comments.

    As an afghan but not pashtun, I am completely agree with you.
    This is a dream for non pashtun people of Afghanistan to be independent and leave them for Pashtunistan, this is the only way of solving the problems of the region and the world!
    Actually from 30 years ago most part of central and north of the country were fighting for this...and now is the best time for this because of presence of NATO and USA here to avoid balkanization.
    the best way is tht at first Afghanistan plus pashtun and baluch areas in pakistan devided in 6 federal states for pashtuns of Afghanistan and pakistan seprately, tajiks, ozbeks and hazaras of Afghanistan and a joint state for all baluchs..., then must be a free referendum with control of international representatives and forces about the future of this nations
    i.e if they want to be independent or to join one of Afghanistan or Pakistan. And in this way, I think pashtuns vote to be Independent and Pashtunistan will formed!
    Another plan is just for Afghanistan that separate south from north, then leave pashtuns to themselves if they want to be part of Pakistan and or be independent.
    The third way that i think you have sympathy to it, i. e adding pashtuns of Pakistan to Afghanistan at first and then separating them, is impossible because by that Pakistan will be completely breakup and no one wants this...and also non pashton people of Afg never accept overwhelming of pashtons in the country...
    I am sure that in the future, we will see some big changes in the borders or name of countries of the region as have been happened in Balkan 2 decades ago.

    • Thank you for your kind words.

      First of all, I don’t feel that a Pashtunistan should be created by first annexing all Pashtun-inhabited areas of Pakistan to Afghanistan, then declaring a soveriegn state. The idea would have little, if any support in Pakistan, since their borders contain more Pashtuns than Afghanistan and many are proud Pakistani nationalists. Also for the reason you mention. A better process might be:

      1. End the Taliban insurgency; enlisting the support of those who can reach out to them and influence them to stand down. Maybe an indigenous non-violent social reform movement.... Then, organizations would be willing to economically invest in the region and the people.

      2. Repatriate the refugees (This is something the West can help with.). They need to be back home to participate in the next steps and this step will take some economic stress off Pakistan.

      3. Engage in a respectful debate about whether a sovereign Pashtun state is economically viable and desired. Can an independent Pashtunistan afford infrastructure and raise the literacy rate enough to administer a country? Must such a state include all Pashtun-inhabited areas, or can some tribal lands remain in their respective countries? It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Nobody really knows what the outcome of the debate would be until all sides are heard. There are many opinions on the matter, but I don’t think anyone has mapped them out geographically before.

      4. Abolish the Durand border in favor of a border established by either a census/survey or a referendum by district or zone. National referendums would not give the detailed answer required to reflect the will of the local people. If the results came in starting in a swath from either Central Afghanistan or the outer edge of the NWTP and FATA, working to the other end of the Pashtun-inhabited areas, each district’s results would be mapped as part of whatever country they wanted to belong to until a border was established. News coverage of the event would be the most watched in the entire world, I think. Even if the border didn’t change much, it would still be the most exciting television in the world to watch as the border would be estblished by those who inhabit the region. This would effectively kill the colonial legacy.

      5. Afghanistan and Pakistan would sign a treaty that specifies the types of cross-border contact that are legal and those that aren’t. This would create a framework where Afghanistan and Pakistan would reinforce and support the other nation’s sovereignty.

      I know this is just an outline and there would be a lot of details to decide. It would also make demands on the courage of the peoples and governments of both Pakistan and Afghanistan. There are also some administrative and legislative solutions that could also smooth things over.

  • Dear Laura,
    we pashtun 100% agree and want pashtunistan, our own country and 193 nation of the united nations. God will fullfill our dream of pashtunistan.

    salman khan

  • No it wouldnt help! Because our pashtun brothers are not agree with their pashtuns brothers from Pakistan. The taliban are willing to creat a Pashtunestan and this Pashtunestan will includes not only Afghanistan. Taliban are interested in Pakistan, India, Iran and so on....
    I wish we could build a wall between Pakis and afghanis and take care on our borders. Otherwise we will go down together!!!

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