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Monday, 5 October 2009

Query Concerning Afpak border

While working on the Baluchistan/Quetta story yesterday for Al Jazeera English, I read a Dawn editorial which stated that 50,000 to 60,000 people were crossing the Afghanistan/Pakistan border every day. I wonder of anyone can shed any further light on this notion and back it up with some evidence please?

6 comments:

Raymond Turney said...

Hi,

I recall reading that it is a very long border, not clearly demarcated. The Pashtun tribesmen are on both sides of the border and there are 42 million of them. If we figure 1% of the Pashtuns live in a location where it makes sense to cross the border on a regular basis, that gives us 420,000 Pashtuns who live where regular border crossing might be expected.

So the News figure might even be somewhat low. What conclusions do you want to draw from it?

Ray,

captainjohann said...

Hi rani,
Please read the latest interview by hakimullah the head of TTP. He very clearly is asking the present Pakistani Government to allow its fighters into Afghanistan.That is his only demand. He is also vowing revenge on Americans.
This very clearly shows all these years when Americans were pouring dollars into Musharaff coffers, he was allowing the Taliban fighters a free reign to go and come as pleased into Afghanistan and also to kill the Americans.It also shows that TTP will not attack Pakistani Army or Pakistan targets if only this condition is accepted may be in the form of cease-fire.They know very clearly Kerry-lugar dollars are required for Pakistani Army and so asking this one and only condition.They also are saying they will not attack NATO convoy in Pakistan because the dollars it brings to smugglers and truck drivers.The full Shura was there and Mullah Omar is Amir is also accepted by them.The Pakistani army is ready to oblige as it doesnot have the stomach to fight.Indian presence in Afghanistan is the redrag for americans to bite.

Rani Singh said...

Hi Raymond
thanks for your reply...don't you think the Dawn figure is high for as they say DAILY crossings? and which way are folk going?

I was so concerned not to make a mistake, I left this aspect out of my own broadcast.

Thanks for clarifying, your figures are illuminating
rani

Rani Singh said...

Hi Captainjohann
Thanks for your interesting comment, I have read Hakimullah's latest statemenst with interest.

Please explain "redrag"
rani

Raymond Turney said...

Hi,

The problem is, what are these "border crossings" exactly?

If the border is demarcated and a barrier of barbed wire has been built, Al Jazeera's estimate is high. If there are a fair number of families with a house on one side of the border and farmland on the other, who usually aren't aware the border is there because their tribe lives in both countries and only rarely has to deal with a tax collector, Al Jazeera's estimate might be low.

If the problem is estimating how difficult it is to police the border, the length of the border, how mountainous it is, and the number of troops/border guards available are probably more significant than someone's estimate of the number of crossings that occur daily. I know I wouldn't want to be in charge of preventing Taliban from crossing the border.

In any event, not including Al-Jazeera's estimate in your report was the correct decision. You don't know how they arrived at their estimate, and don't believe it. So we can discuss it, but no reporter should use data from another report if she suspects it is false:-).

Ray,

Rani Singh said...

Ray,
regarding your 9th October comment, thank you for the information. It seems from your comments on this subject that the Afpak border is something we should really be looking into. You raise several important points in this last comment, and I wonder where we can find more information. It seems that this is not an area many folk have talked about....do the military and defence strategists have information?