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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States, 1951. Asia and the Pacific (in two parts)

Afghanistan,   pp. 2004-2012 PDF (3.8 MB)

Page 2008

  As a small, land-locked, and undeveloped country, Afghanistan is
dependent upon neighboring countries for access to the rest of the
world and is without defense adequate to meet aggression by a strong
foreign power. It might, therefore, be expected to cultivate close and.
friendly relations with its neighbors. It tends, however, to concentrate
its fears on these neighbors. As a small country, its diplomatic efforts
traditionally aim at playing off states with rival interests in
Afghanistan against each other, at the same time enlisting the support
of remote powers. Afghanistan has long feared the USSR, and al-
though it mistrusted the British, it regarded the latter as an offset
to S6viet encroachment. Since Pakistan lacks a comparable interna-
tional status it has not succeeded to the British position as a counter-
poise to the USSR. It has, however, inherited all of the Afghan
suspicion to which the British were subject. This situation, aggravated
by a dispute involving the status of tribal groups along the Afghan-
Pakistan border, strongly affects relations- between the two countries
and influences Afghanistan to fortify its position by cultivating the
United States and India, and by looking toward the United Nations
as a possible means of drawing public attention to its claims. Since
the partition of India, Afghanistan has strenuously objected to the
integration into Pakistan territory of Pushtu-speaking tribal elements
west and south of the Durand Line.6 Afghanistan has agitated con-
tinuously in an effort to validate its, interest in the area, to substantiate
assertions that the area ("Pushtunistan") is a political entity
not sub-
ject to Pakistan's authority, and to raise questions as to the validity
of the Durand Line as Pakistan's western and northern boundary.
This problem, which so far has not yielded to numerous efforts at
bilateral negotiations, involves the issue generally referred to as
  Our, interests would be seriously prejudiced by the failure of
Afghanistan and Pakistan to reach an accord on matters of tribal
status and treatment. We are continuing to urge the fullest utilization
of the machinery of bilateral negotiation, including conversations
without pre-conditions.
  Access to foreign markets and sources of supply through Pakistan
is essential to the Afghan economy and to continued Afghan orienta-
tion toward the West, especially as there is no such access through
Iran at present. We.should continue to encourage Afghanistan to
settle its differences with Pakistan and to promote the regional co-
operation which will preclude its excessive commercial dependence
   The boundary line between British India and Afghanistan drawn up by a
British mission under Sir Henry Mortimer Durand and agreed to by Amir Abdur
Rahman Khan of Afghanistan in 1893.            1 1

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