This article explores the positionalities of two traditionally mobile groups of people in Afghanistan, former pastoralists and peripatetics, who are currently living in several urban camps in Kabul. Starting from the assumption of their immobilization in-between places, the research shows their current self-positioning in the process of seeking belonging can be traced in locality-generating practices.
To avoid a direct clash, the boundaries between British India and Afghanistan were demarcated in 1893. The Afghan Amir renounced his claim to certain areas, which were permanently annexed to British India and the successive Afghan rulers recognised it as international frontier. However, on the eve of the partition of India, the Afghan Government demanded that its former territories should be handed back to Afghanistan. Since then it has been a contentious issue between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The contentious status of the Durand Line between Afghanistan and Pakistan is a symbol of both the problems of state and nation-building and their conflict-prone relationship. First, the unresolved border of the Durand Line was a tool in the process of nation building by Afghan governments, whose demand until the 1970s for a “Greater Pashtunistan” challenged the territorial integrity of Pakistan. Second¬ly, in the 1990s, the Durand Line acquired a regional dimension when the Pakistani military linked Afghanistan to its conflict with India over Kashmir.
The origins of the Durand Line are one of the most under-researched aspects of the border dispute. Unanswered questions include: Was the 1893 border agreement signed under duress, as Afghan authorities and Pashtun nationalists hold? If not, why did Amir Abdur Rahman sign it? Did Ghaffar Khan, the founder of the Pashtun nationalist movement Khudai Khitmatgar, seek an independent Pashtunistan, or was he merely advocating autonomy?