Minefields, real and diplomatic

As Blake noted yesterday, Pakistan’s government is touting a new plan to mine its porous border with Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai dismisses the notion as an empty gesture at fighting the Taliban, and he may be right. It’s far easier for Pakistan to talk about minefields and border fences than to actually crack down on known Taliban operatives ...

By , a professor at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies.

As Blake noted yesterday, Pakistan's government is touting a new plan to mine its porous border with Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai dismisses the notion as an empty gesture at fighting the Taliban, and he may be right.

It's far easier for Pakistan to talk about minefields and border fences than to actually crack down on known Taliban operatives in places like Waziristan. But it's a clever gesture on Musharraf's part. Why? Because Karzai has to reject the idea. The Durand Line that forms the border between the two countries cuts right through Pashtun tribal areas. Endorsing a plan to mine the border would mean accepting the border, something Afghanistan has never done.

And so the bickering between Musharaff and Karzai continues. Bush may have to invite them for another White House dinner soon.

As Blake noted yesterday, Pakistan’s government is touting a new plan to mine its porous border with Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai dismisses the notion as an empty gesture at fighting the Taliban, and he may be right.

It’s far easier for Pakistan to talk about minefields and border fences than to actually crack down on known Taliban operatives in places like Waziristan. But it’s a clever gesture on Musharraf’s part. Why? Because Karzai has to reject the idea. The Durand Line that forms the border between the two countries cuts right through Pashtun tribal areas. Endorsing a plan to mine the border would mean accepting the border, something Afghanistan has never done.

And so the bickering between Musharaff and Karzai continues. Bush may have to invite them for another White House dinner soon.

David Bosco is a professor at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. He is the author of The Poseidon Project: The Struggle to Govern the World’s Oceans. Twitter: @multilateralist

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