The Durand Line (Pashto: د ډیورنډ کرښه) refers to the 2,640 kilometers (1,640 mi) long porous International border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It was established after an 1893 agreement between Sir Mortimer Durand of British India and Afghan Amir Abdur Rahman Khan for fixing the limit of their respective spheres of influence as well as improving diplomatic relations and trade. It is named after Sir Mortimer Durand, K.C.I.E., a British diplomat and civil servant of colonial British India. Afghanistan was considered by the British as an independent princely state at the time, although the British controlled its foreign affairs and diplomatic relations.
The single-page agreement which contains seven short articles was signed by Durand and Abdur Rahman Khan, agreeing not to exercise interference beyond the frontier Durand Line. A joint British-Afghandemarcation survey took place starting from 1894, covering some 800 miles of the border. The resulting line later established the “Great Game” buffer zone between British and Russian interests in the region. The line as slightly modified by the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919 was inherited by Pakistan following its independence from the British in 1947 becoming its modern border with Afghanistan.
The Durand Line cuts through the Pashtun tribal areas and further south through the Balochistan region, politically dividing ethnic Pashtuns, as well as the Baloch and other ethnic groups, who live on both sides of the border. It demarcates Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Balochistan and Gilgit–Baltistan of northern and western Pakistan from the northeastern and southern provinces of Afghanistan. From a geopolitical and geostrategic perspective, it has been described as one of the most dangerous borders in the world. Although recognised internationally as the western border of Pakistan and shown as such on global maps, it remains unrecognized in Afghanistan. According to Aimal Faizi, spokesman for theAfghan President, the Durand Line is “an issue of historical importance for Afghanistan. The Afghan people, not the government, can take a final decision on it.