Border Hopping

Dec 27, 2010   //   by LouBu   //   Uncategorized  //  1 Comment

Jalal­abad sits at the crux between cen­tral and south Asias, tucked into the moun­tains near the Kyber pass- the famous gate­way to the Indi­an sub­con­ti­nent. The peo­ple here are Pash­tuns, and their tribes strad­dle the polit­i­cal bound­ary between Pak­istan and Afghanistan. I’ve heard ref­er­ence sev­er­al times to “Pashtunistan,” a coun­try that exists in only a cul­tur­al con­text, encom­pass­ing all the Pash­tun peo­ple from both sides of the board­er. The red line on the map was drawn when British India pushed north into Afghan ter­ri­to­ry and the Afghan King ced­ed that land. How­ev­er, the bor­der has always been flu­id- many Pash­tuns grew up par­tial­ly in Pak­istan and trav­el between Jalal­abad and Peshawar reg­u­lar­ly. Thou­sands of Afghan Pash­tuns moved east­ward dur­ing the Sovi­et inva­sion or dur­ing the Mujahideen fought civ­il war that fol­lowed or when the Tal­iban gov­ern­ment seized pow­er.  They still have rel­a­tives there, who speak the same lan­guage and fol­low the same Pash­tun­wali code of ethics and hon­or. I’ve been told that Pash­tun peo­ple don’t even need a pass­port to cross the board­er over the Kyber pass. Haz­zaras and Tajiks will be has­sled and need prop­er doc­u­men­ta­tion. Pash­to speak­ers who look the part get waved in. Polit­i­cal­ly we are in Afghanistan but cul­tur­al­ly we’re slip­ping into Pakistan.


The maximum borders of Pashtunistan (shadowed in blue) and the Durand Line border in red.

- from Wikipedia Pash­tunistan