KABUL - The Afghan government is ready to find a negotiated settlement of the long-running dispute over the British-mandate Durand Line with Pakistan, the 1st vice-president said on Tuesday.
On May 4, President Hamid Karzai had said Pakistan could never force Afghanistan into recognizing the Durand Line with border skirmishes like the one in the Goshta district of eastern Nangarhar province.
The neighbor should stop thinking that it could coerce Afghanistan into negotiations on the issue, Karzai told a news conference in Kabul -- three days after an Afghan policeman was killed in the clash.
But his deputy, Marshal Mohammed Qasim Fahim, told a conference involving provincial governors that the line separated Afghanistan and Pakistan, affecting peoples on both sides of the frontier.
He suggested the neighbors should hold UN-mediated talks on the spate. “We are ready to resolve bilateral problems, protecting the core interests of both sides,” the former Northern Alliance leader said.
Fahim referred to the settlement of border tiffs among European nations after World War II, saying Islamabad and Kabul could resolve their problem in a just and logical manner through substantive talks.
However, the vice-president cautioned Pakistan to avoid coercing Afghans into accepting its demands. “You will take this desire to the grave; no military power can do this,” he warned.
The vice-president accused Islamabad of distributing cash and Pakistani identity cards to residents of Afghan border areas in an effort to increase its clout. But the practice was counterproductive and problematic, he concluded. (Pajhwok)