The 5,500+ kilometer border between Afghanistan and Pakistan has been a bone of contention between Pakistan’s military and the international occupation forces in Afghanistan largely since the Afghan War began. Complaints over Pakistan’s inability to secure the border have been a constant strain on ties with the nation, despite the enormity and inhospitableness of the border regions.
But as US pressure has forced Pakistan to invade a number of its own loosely controlled border regions, the tables have turned. Now, it is the Pakistani military complaining about the US inability to control the Afghan border.
The latest dispute comes as the Pakistani military struggles to secure its “victory” over the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the tiny Bajaur Agency. Though the military chased the militants largely out of the region in a battle that killed some 150 security forces, they note with growing resentment that most of the TTP simply relocated to Kunar, on the Afghan side of the border.
In fact the portion of Kunar that borders Bajaur, the Korengal Valley, had only one US outpost, and that was abandoned earlier this week as too dangerous and of questionable value.
For the US the enormous number of wars they have convinced Pakistan to start along the border has been no small achievement. Yet as the US struggles to sell the Afghan War as a growing success the reality is that NATO’s virtually non-existant presence along the border means Pakistan’s offensives are accomplishing very little, except for getting large number of Pakistanis killed.