People of Angoor Adda are restive because their movements are being regulated this winter. This defies the history of this South-eastern Afghan settlement bordering Pakistan. Regardless of who is in power in Afghanistan, borders with Pakistan remain difficult to manage.
People living along the Durand Line separating Pakistan and Afghanistan are getting restive as Pakistan regulates movement along the Durand Line. They point to the unnecessary controls on the remote transiting points at Chaman, Torkham, Kharlachi, Spin Boldak and Angoor Adda.
Of all these, Angoor Adda in the Afghan province of Paktika is of particular interest. The crossing here has traditionally allowed people from the nomadic Kuchi Afghan tribe passage across the border. The Kuchis nomads have roamed the region for centuries. As a thick blanket of snow enveloped Angoor Adda.
Angoor Adda touches the country’s South-eastern border with Pakistan and is one of the many hinterlands of Afghanistan. Regardless of who is in power in Afghanistan, borders with Pakistan remain difficult to manage.
Taliban takeover, increasing regulation and a bitter winter
But movement across the border point on a high, arid plateau is getting increasingly regulated since the Taliban took over in Afghanistan in August. The tribal people have traditionally migrated across the borders below the plateau with their livestock in the winter months. The Kuchis inhabit areas on both sides of the border. This year’s winter is particularly bitter for both, man and animal.
Fodder is getting scarce and their cattle face starvation. The pastoral Kuchi nomads need to take their livestock down the plateau. The tribal people depend on the cattle for their own living and they are anxious.
The increasing regulation of their movements does not suit them. They feel it is a restriction because they don’t recognise the Durand Line, the international border demarcating Afghanistan and Pakistan. Generations have crossed the border without documents. Today’s Kuchis possess official documents from both, Afghanistan and Pakistan which makes it easy for them to cross borders, especially to migrate as the winter gets harsh on the Afghan side.
Border conundrum or grapes of wrath?
Angoor Adda, literally the grapes’ spot, is today the favourite transiting point for pomegranate merchants from Kandahar. The Pakistan government is regulating the international border because it does not want an influx of refugees inside the country. The regulation, of course, is causing resentment among traders. For instance, truckloads of pomegranates rot in Spin Boldak.
Officials have spent the past week planning the transport of wheat into Afghanistan from Angoor Adda. But all the discussions seem frozen with the latest sowfall.
To make life easier, the Pakistan government has embarked upon constructing a panagah (inn) in the Angoor Adda border point to facilitate the outgoing and incoming passengers. Pakistani newspaper, The News, quoted Hafeezullah Sial, Wazirastan’s Director of Social Welfare, saying that the proposed project would be provided free accommodation and food to facilitate them in their journey.
Edited By Aditi Angelina Patro
Picture: Pakistan, Waziristan, Angoor Adda
Source: Wikimedia Commons.