Afghanistan’s persisting outlook on Pakistan: Lessons for Islamabad’s Afghan policy
1. Introduction and background
Pakistan has a unique relationship with Afghanistan. The two countries share a 2,570 km long border, also called Durand Line, and have numerous cultural, ethnic and religious connections. The former Afghan leader Hamid Karzai once described the two countries as “joined together like twins” and “inseparable.” Yet relations between the two countries have never been smooth. Rather, they have been painful.
During the previous governments in Afghanistan, led by presidents Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani respectively, anti-Pakistan slogans regularly echoed on the streets of Kabul and other parts of the country, with Islamabad accused of fomenting violence and instability in the country by supporting, harbouring, and facilitating the Afghan Taliban. The Ghani government was also consistent in blaming Pakistan for trying to bring instability and unrest in Afghanistan.
Even after the Afghan Taliban captured Kabul on August 15, 2021, in the wake of the U.S. military withdrawal, and announced their interim government in the following weeks, anti-Pakistan sentiments still prevail among most of the Afghans. In fact, opinion about Islamabad within the ranks of the ruling Taliban has also rapidly changed.
Pakistan is now hosting around 1.3 million registered Afghan refugees, but there are an estimated 1.5 million more Afghans in the country without legal status, including over 250,000 who the government says have arrived since the Taliban’s August 2021 takeover. Pakistan also emerged as the “biggest base” for urgent evacuation of foreigners and Afghan nationals from Afghanistan, after the Taliban captured most of the country. Despite Pakistan’s continued support to Afghanistan, it remains deeply unpopular among the Afghan people as many among them see it as a root cause of their misery.
The tense history between the two countries is marked with five key factors: security interests, sovereignty concerns, geopolitical dynamics, cross-border ties, and connectivity and trade. Both have accused each other of harbouring the other’s opponents and interfering in their internal security affairs. Afghan government, civil society and media blame Islamabad for funding and hosting the Afghan Taliban on its territory to target Afghanistan. Similarly, Islamabad blames Afghan government in Kabul to provide sanctuaries to anti-Pakistan militant groups – including Islamist groups, such as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, and Baloch separatist groups – which, they allege, carry out cross-border attacks and terrorist activities in Pakistan.
“Hosting and supporting each other’s militant groups is the key reason behind the worsening of relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” said Basir Ahmed Hotak, a political analyst in Kabul.
“Whenever there was a bombing or suicide attack in Afghanistan, the government, media and politicians blamed Pakistan for it. This is how Afghanistan’s society, in general, have become increasingly critical of Pakistan. They blame Islamabad for the turmoil in their country,” Hotak shared with this researcher in an interview. According to him, compared to Afghans living in rural areas, the population living in major urban centres, such as Kabul, Kandahar, Mazar Sharif and Herat, are more likely to have a negative view of Pakistan.
Pakistan has been involved in Afghanistan’s internal affairs since the late 1970s when the Soviet Union sent thousands of troops into Afghanistan and immediately assumed complete military and political control of Kabul. Since then, Pakistan has provided political and military support for different factions within Afghanistan. During the 1980s, Pakistan was a major backer of the Afghan mujahideen (holy warriors) fighting against the Soviet invasion and hosted millions of Afghan refugees fleeing the war.
Even after the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989, Pakistan’s government continued providing for training and financial assistance to a select group of mujahideen, popularly known as ‘Peshawar Seven’ – an alliance of Sunni mujahideen groups, including those led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Burhanudin Rabbani, Ahmed Shah Masood etc. It is important here to note that Pakistan was not the only country that intervened in Afghan affairs during that time. Iran formed a similar “Tehran Eight” group which was composed of mostly Shia and Hazara groups. Eventually, in the early 1990s, as Pakistan started supporting the Afghan Taliban who captured most of the country, other armed militant groups became estranged from Pakistan.
“Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan for the past four decades is the key reason that all major segments of Afghan society, whether it is media, politicians or civil society activists, are always concerned about Pakistan’s role and mostly hold Islamabad responsible for destabilising Afghanistan,” explained Hotak.
The prime reason behind Pakistan’s continued involvement in Afghanistan is its concern for Indian presence in the country. According to a former Afghan interior ministry official, after coming to power, President Ghani tried addressing this security concern of Pakistan and winning its confidence, despite severe opposition of the influential figures in his government, During his government, senior officials shuttled back and forth between the two countries for bilateral engagements. Ghani cancelled military assistance from India, particularly the contract requests for purchasing heavy weapons made under the tenure of former President Hamid Karzai. “Karzai had requested India for heavy weapons in view of Afghanistan’s tense relations with Pakistan, but Ghani cancelled a long-standing request to purchase heavy arms from India as a move to maintain a balanced relationship with Pakistan,” said the former interior ministry official.
Despite the efforts, relations between the two countries remained tense. Pakistan’s mistrust of the Ghani regime continued for its ties with India, and Afghans also continued raising question over Pakistan’s alleged support to the Taliban.
2. Media’s role
Considering media’s immense soft power to shape public opinion in the globalised world, its role in shaping Afghans’ outlook of Pakistan cannot be overlooked. Background interviews with Afghan analysts and journalists suggest that the current affairs talk shows on Afghan TV channels have played a key role in shaping the common people’s perception of Pakistan.
Under the Taliban’s first rule from 1996-2001, Afghanistan’s independent media was almost non-existent; press was fully controlled by the regime. After the U.S.-led NATO intervention in Afghanistan, which ousted the Taliban from power, Afghans gained access to television with multiple news channels and newly launched FM radio stations, which were catering to almost every stratum of society in the country.
Most TV talk shows in Afghanistan present Pakistan as an enemy country, and subsequently shape the public opinion about Islamabad. “If a TV anchor bashes Pakistan, the [viewership] rating of that talk show would go higher,” said a Kabul-based journalist.
Because of airing of anti-Pakistani content, the state-run Pakistan Electronic Media and Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) banned the broadcast of the Afghanistan’s electronic media and the circulation of its print media multiple times in the past but lifted it later after protests by Afghans living in Pakistan. However, since 2013, Pakistan has blocked nearly all Afghan TV channels from being broadcast by cable operators in Pakistan.
However, through unregulated social media, Afghans have openly expressed their rage and revulsion for Pakistan. Soon after the Afghan Taliban’s takeover, use of the Twitter hashtag #SanctionPakistan by thousands of Afghans has shown the antipathy among them for the perceived role of Pakistan in bringing the Taliban to power. The logic goes that, without Pakistan’s alleged support for the Taliban, the Taliban would not have had the capability to topple the Ghani government.
An Al-Jazeera’ report citing data from the social media insight company, Talkwalker, said that the hashtag #SanctionPakistan was used more than 730,000 times from August 10 to August 12, with at least 37 percent of those tweets tagged as originating from Afghanistan. The tweets under this trend demanded the international community to hold Islamabad accountable for “supporting the Afghan Taliban militants and spreading chaos.”
3. Situation after Kabul’s fall
When Kabul fell, some Pakistanis celebrated the Taliban’s return to power, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, who declared that Afghans had broken the “shackles of slavery.” Some Pakistanis also welcomed a perceived blow to India, a Pakistan’s arch-rival, which had close ties with the former Afghan governments.
In the weeks that followed, Pakistan launched a diplomatic effort urging the international community to engage with the Taliban, help ease Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis and prevent it from descending into chaos again. For the first time, Pakistan even allowed India to transport humanitarian aid to Kabul through Pakistani territory. In December, foreign ministers of the 56 nations belonging to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), along with Taliban and U.S. delegates, gathered in Islamabad. The meeting focused on Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis.
Despite these efforts, tensions have sometimes flared between Islamabad and Kabul, to the surprise of many in the region. Islamabad, who had previously blamed the Ghani regime for giving sanctuary to anti-Pakistan terrorist groups in Afghanistan, was confident the Afghan Taliban would be more active against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Baloch separatist groups, such as the Baloch Liberation Army and the Baloch Liberation Front. As per the promises made by the Taliban in the Doha accord that it would not allow use of Afghanistan’s soil for cross-border terrorism, this expectation among Pakistani policymakers was well-grounded.
After taking control of the country and forming its government in August 2021, the Taliban have launched a crackdown on the members of various Baloch separatist groups that have been attacking Chinese interests in Pakistan, including projects linked with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). However, the new rulers in Kabul are unlikely to meet the demands of Islamabad to flush out sanctuaries of TTP militants, because they are part of an Al-Qaeda-led larger jihadist network that helped the Taliban in fighting against the NATO and Afghan forces and eventually capturing Afghanistan. Given this, Pakistan has now realised that friendship with the Afghan Taliban won’t come quite as easily as was perceived earlier.
Weeks after the Taliban captured Kabul, Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed, the then head of Pakistan’s influential Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, visited Afghanistan’s capital. He was said to have flown there to talk to the Taliban over the composition of the interim government – some reports claimed there were differences between the Taliban and the Haqqani Network over key positions.
However, Hameed’s visit to Kabul didn’t create good optics and caused an increase in anti-Pakistan sentiment in Afghanistan. On the next day of his visit, a group of Afghan men and women staged a rally outside the Pakistani embassy in Kabul, which the Taliban had to disperse through aerial shooting. “Many in Afghanistan saw Hameed’s presence in Kabul as confirmation of their belief that the Taliban are nothing more than a Pakistani stooge. It caused a huge humiliation for the Taliban regime too,” asserted Syed, a Kabul-based journalist.
In January 2022, Pakistan’s then National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf cancelled his scheduled Afghanistan visit as a large number of protesters were expected to turn up at the Kabul airport for an anti-Pakistan demonstration. However, Pakistani officials claimed that the visit was postponed due to bad weather.  Yusuf was supposed to head a high-level delegation for talks on humanitarian aid for the Afghans and other issues of bilateral importance.
After failing in convincing the Afghan Taliban to take stern actions against the TTP, Pakistan security forces launched cross-border airstrikes on April 16 in Kunar and Khost provinces of Afghanistan that reportedly claimed more than 47 lives, including women and children. The attacks caused severe backlash in Afghanistan, with many blaming Pakistan for violation of Afghanistan’s sovereignty.
Taliban’s Ministry of Defence called the attack tyrannical and warned that no country should provoke Afghanistan. Amir Khan Mutaqqi, the acting foreign minister of the Taliban, summoned the Pakistani ambassador and expressed his strong protest against the attacks.
A Khost-based tribal elder shared that hundreds of people attended the protests against Pakistan for bombing and violating the country’s sovereignty and chanted anti-Pakistan slogans. He held, “the cross-border bombing has recently increased anti-Pakistani sentiments among the residents of the Afghan provinces that shared borders with Afghanistan.”
4. Border fencing
Another factor contributing to mistrust between the two countries is the fencing of the Durand Line issue. Pashtun nationalists have long been advocating for an open border to facilitate free movement and, hence, strongly reject the Pakistan’s unilateral concealment of the border.
Durand Line, the international border between the two countries, was demarcated in 1893 following an agreement between the British Empire and the Afghan king. The Durand Line divides ethnic Pashtun tribes in the Pak-Afghan border areas and, hence, movement across the border was regular before Pakistan started fencing it. When Pakistan started the fencing in 2017, President Ghani’s regime voiced its reservations calling it a “unilateral move to fence the de facto border, which divides families, tribes and communities and has not been officially recognised.” Differences over the status of the border have resulted in several fatal clashes between the two countries’ border security forces.
Soon after the Taliban takeover of Kabul, several videos surfaced on social media where Afghan Taliban members were seen uprooting the fence along the border and chanting slogans against the fence. In at least two incidents in late December and early January, Afghan Taliban officials intervened to block the ongoing Pakistani project to erect fencing on Durand Line. In December, Pakistani forces attempted to erect fences in the Chahar Burjak district and near the Nangarhar province, both of which were thwarted by the Taliban fighters who destroyed installations and clashed with border forces. Afghan defence ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi said Taliban forces stopped the Pakistani military from erecting what he called an “illegal” border fence along the Nangarhar province.
In January 2022, another video appeared on social media to show Taliban forces destroying fencing built by the Pakistani military along the Durand Line. In an interview with Tolo News, Mawllawi Sanaullah Sangin, commander of the border forces for the eastern zone, said that the Taliban regime will not allow the fencing anytime, in any form. “Whatever they did before, they did, but we will not allow it anymore. There will be no fencing anymore.”
Interviews with political commentators based in Kabul suggested that the anti-Pakistan sentiments are high in Afghanistan because of Islamabad’s perceived role as a main driver of instability. This is one reason that no government has ever formally accepted the Durand Line as a permanent border because it remains a highly emotional issue. According to a political analyst in Kabul, “The Taliban’s opposition of the fencing is aimed at gaining domestic legitimacy and to do away with the perception that they are a Pakistani proxy group.”
5. Visa issuance
Before the fall of Kabul last year, thousands of Afghans crossed the Pak-Afghan border on daily basis. For instance, a 2014 study had noted “an unprecedented and unmonitored movement of around 56,000 people daily, with more than 90 per cent of the flow originating from Afghanistan into Pakistan.”
To stem a potential tide of new refugees after the fall of Kabul, Pakistan allowed restricted pedestrian movement only for Pakistani citizens and Afghans with a visa. Unexpectedly, the numbers of Afghans crossing into Pakistan had not been as high as some had warned, border officials and refugee agencies observed. “People mainly flee from armed conflicts or other types of violence,” said a Peshawar-based government official overseeing refugees’ affairs. “But, this time, Afghanistan did not see any large-scale violence between the Taliban and security forces that could force people to be displaced from their homes.”
Yet crossing the Pak-Afghan border and getting visit or residential visas for Pakistan are not easy. A section of Afghan media reported that the Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul is allegedly selling visas in the black markets to let Afghan national travel or live in the neighbouring country. According to these unverifiable reports and accounts provided by some Afghan media, people could get a month-long visa by paying $300, a five-month visa for $500, and $700 for a yearlong visa. Ahmed Jan, an Afghan national from Kabul who brought his mother for treatment in Peshawar, said that patients are getting visit visas by directly applying to the embassy. “But others have to rely on the black market.”
Even after one has an approved visa from embassy, travelling to Pakistan is not without trouble. Firdous Ali, a trader in Jalalabad, said that extraordinary hardships and difficulties at the Torkham border have affected their business. With days long security checks at the border crossing, even bringing patients to Peshawar for medical treatment has become more and more difficult. “Both countries should address unnecessary difficulties in cross-border regulation in view of the plight of Afghan people,” he said. However, he admitted that compared to Iran and other neighbouring countries, Pakistan’s overall attitude towards Afghans at the border and within its territories is hospitable.
Afghans who enter Pakistan from Torkham are mostly residents of Nangarhar province. Before the installation of biometric/border systems at Torkham, they had been coming over through the old British facility of Easement Rights (available to locals). Their movement was dependent on the goodwill of border guards. Now, with much stricter regulation and security check in place, they have to face what they call “maltreatment” at the hand of border security officials. This has partly also etched into their memories developing a dislike for Pakistan.
Frequent closure of borders also adds to their trouble and anti-Pakistan sentiments. According to one account, while the people living in Qila Abdullah and Chaman districts of Pakistan can cross either with Kandahar-issued or Pakistani ID cards, but Afghans having legal documents have to wait several days.
6. Taliban are also not happy
Some within the Taliban ranks also have a strong negative view of Pakistan for its role in the U.S.-led war on terror. Others, despite having lived in Pakistan for years after the U.S. offensive against the Taliban, tried hiding their links with Pakistan to dismiss the common perception among Afghans that the Taliban are “Pakistani stooges”. Islamabad also denied the presence of the Taliban on its territory, as NATO forces targeted Taliban cadres in 2001. For Taliban leadership and fighters, fleeing Afghanistan to hide in Pakistan was not an escape but a return home – back to the refugee camps and neighbourhoods where they were brought up in the 1980s and 90s.
Now, after the Taliban have regained control of the country and formed a government in Kabul, a number of their leaders and members who had been living in Pakistan for over two decades have moved back to their home country to join the government’s various state functionaries. Most of them had served in Afghanistan during the Taliban’s regime from 1996 to 2001 but some have also recently graduated from Pakistani madrassas and universities in various cities.
After the dramatic ascent of the Taliban to power, their dependence on Pakistan has not radically changed. Owing to Afghanistan’s economic collapse and a fast-approaching humanitarian crisis, many Taliban leaders and mid-ranking functionaries do not want to risk all by bringing their families into a country that many Afghans are eager to leave.
But despite all of it, the Taliban’s reservations with Pakistan are long-standing and go beyond policy disputes. The Taliban suffered at Pakistan’s hands when it arrested some of their leaders in 2010, including one of their founding leaders, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Current Deputy Prime Minister, who spent nearly a decade in a Pakistani prison. In 2002, Pakistan also arrested Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, and a year later, handed over to the United States.
A Taliban’s mid-level leader in Karachi said that former Taliban detainees in Pakistan, who are now in key positions in the current government in Kabul, show little love for Pakistan and described Pakistanis as ‘untrustworthy’ and “controlling”. He believed that the Taliban would like to reduce their dependence on Pakistan for forging wider alliances with other countries, including India. In early June, Afghanistan’s all-powerful Defence Minister Mullah Yaqub, son of the Taliban founder Mullah Omar, expressed willingness to send Afghan army personnel to India for military training, saying they “don’t have any issue with it.”
At the fourth quarterly expert consultation on “Afghan peace and reconciliation: Pakistan’s interests and policy options” organised by Pak Institute for Peace Studies in Islamabad on June 9, most of the Pakistani and Afghan participants agreed on growing mistrust among the Taliban leaders in Kabul on Pakistani government, and even Pakistani society, particular media.
Despite the rising tensions between the Afghan Taliban and Pakistan, many anti-Taliban Afghans are still sceptical as to how the Taliban can have disagreements with Pakistan. “Taliban, often branded as close allies of Pakistan, are taking a visibly hostile approach in a bid to win praise from Afghan nationalists and enhance their domestic legitimacy,” said Tahir Khan, an Islamabad-based journalist who closely monitors the Taliban affairs.
7. Border trade
Recent obstacles in trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan have also been causing a negative impact on relationship between the two countries. As Afghanistan is a landlocked country, many Afghans depend on Pak-Afghan trade for their livelihood. Khan Jan Alokozay, President of Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI), believes there are several impediments like withdrawal of cash-on-counter facility, requirement of advance payments and reluctance of banks to accept third party payment in case of Afghanistan leading to halted trade across the border. These obstacles could cause a widening trade gap, loss of livelihood, increased hardships for people, and unrest in border areas. The non-issuance of Electronic Import Form (EIF) by State Bank of Pakistan has also gravely affected transactions, led to halting of consignments, and created sort of congestion at the border.
Afghanistan has been facing a deepening financial crisis ever since the Taliban seized power. The crisis is becoming deeper because the country’s international accounts and assets have been frozen by the United States and other key financial institutions. Facing an acute shortage of foreign currency, especially U.S. dollars, to carry on normal trade with other countries, the Taliban government has instructed all citizens, shopkeepers, traders, businessmen and the general public to conduct all transactions in Afghanis and strictly refrain from using a foreign currency.
“Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers are not able to use formal banking channels, while on the other hand, Pakistan has also been facing pressure from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to carry out trade with transparency strictly using banking channels only.” According to Wakilur Rehman, a Pakistani journalist covering Pak-Afghan trade, “now, in Afghanistan under the Taliban’s rule, traders of both countries are compelled to adopt dual methods for sending export and receiving import consignments – one for fulfilling legal requirements and the second using barter or alternate payment mode using the Hawala and Hundi system.”
Azmat Achakzai, a Chaman-based trader, highlighted that fruit and vegetable traders have become poorer due to the sudden closure of Bard as fruits and vegetables spoil quickly. It is also increasing anti-Pakistan sentiments among Afghan traders.” Achakzai recommended for Pakistan to “create a friendly environment for Afghan businessmen so that trade and love grow together.”
8. What should be done?
Most Afghans interviewed for this research suggested that instead of relying on or leaving it to the governments of the two countries, there is a need to develop and enhance people-to-people contacts at different levels to build trust and cement bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Youth, parliamentarians, religious scholars, academics and non-governmental organisations of both countries should meet and discuss bilateral affairs.
Pakistan and Afghanistan need to realise that the geopolitical realities are not the same as they used to be prior to the 9/11 attacks. Regional dynamics have also changed. There are now more players and new actors that have taken central stage in the global and regional politics. People on both sides should be realistic enough to accept and adapt to the emerging ground realities.
The recent earthquake in Khost and Paktika provinces of Afghanistan has provided Pakistan with an opportunity to extend its support to quake-affected people of the neighbouring country which could help in reducing anti-Pakistan sentiments to a great level. The deadliest earthquake that killed over 1,000 people and injured many more comes at a difficult time for the Taliban-ruled country, currently suffering from hunger, poverty and economic crisis.
Initiating cross-border economic activities, trade, and social exchanges could also build stronger relations, forcing governments to sit and discuss ways forward too. Both countries despite having a fence could mend their relations if the people on both sides join hands for economic, trade and social exchanges.
Lastly, Pakistan should look upon Afghanistan as a sovereign country having freedom to develop ties with other countries. It must also stop relying on the Taliban regime in power and should engage with other political and ethnic groups of Afghanistan, in line with its policy to build trust and strong bilateral relations with Afghans.
 Amin Tarzai. “Afghanistan/Pakistan: ‘Inseparable twins’ in need of separation,” RFERL, February 23, 2006, https://www.rferl.org/a/1066082.html
 Statement of UNHCR Pakistan spokesperson, June 20, 2022.
 Grace Easterly and Elizabeth Threlkeld, “Afghanistan-Pakistan Ties and Future Stability in Afghanistan,” USIP, August 12, 2021, https://www.usip.org/publications/2021/08/afghanistan-pakistan-ties-and-future-stability-afghanistan
 Telephonic conversation with Basir Ahmed Hotak, an Afghan political analyst currently based in Paris. June 22, 2022.
 Telephonic conversation with Basir Ahmed Hotak.
 Telephonic conversation with Afghanistan’s former interior ministry official. June 22, 2022.
 Tahir Khan, “Ghani may decline Indian arms to build bridges with Pakistan, The Express Tribune, February 13, 2015, https://tribune.com.pk/story/837964/ghani-may-decline-indian-arms-to-build-bridges-with-pakistan
 Telephonic conversation with Afghanistan’s former interior ministry official.
 Telephonic conversation with Syed, a Kabul-based journalist, who requested to use his single name for security reasons. June 22, 2022.
 Tolo News, “Ban on Afghan TV in Pakistan causes backlash,” December 23, 2013, https://tolonews.com/afghanistan/ban-afghan-tv-pakistan-causes-backlash
 Al-Jazeera, “#SanctionPakistan trends as violence rages in Afghanistan,” August 11, 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/11/sanction-pakistan-twitter-trend-afghanistan-taliban
 Telephonic conversation with Syed. a Kabul-based journalist.
 Mudasir Ali Shah, “Amid planned protest, Yusuf scraps Kabul visit,” Pajhwok, January 19, 2022, https://pajhwok.com/2022/01/19/amid-planned-protest-yusuf-scraps-kabul-visit
 Relief Web, “Pakistani airstrike leaves 47 civilians dead and 22 injured in Afghanistan’s Khost and Kunar provinces,” April 22, 2022, https://reliefweb.int/report/afghanistan/pakistani-airstrike-leaves-47-civilians-dead-and-22-injured-afghanistan-s-khost
 Telephonic conversation with a Khost-based tribal elder. June 20, 2022.
 Amjad Hussain Dawar, “Pak-Afghan relations,” The News, January 23, 2022, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/927257-pak-afghan-relations
 Jibran Ahmad, “Afghan Taliban stop Pakistan army from fencing international border,” Reuters, December 22, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/afghan-taliban-stop-pakistan-army-fencing-international-border-2021-12-22
 Tolo News, “‘Islamic Emirate’ forces on video destroy Durand Line fencing,” January 2, 2022, https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-176144
 Sadaqat Ghorzang, “Islamic Emirate: No more fencing allowed on Durand Line,” Tolo News, January 5, 2022, https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-176188
 Telephonic conversation with a Kabul-based political commentator. June 12, 2022.
 Amina Khan, “Pakistan-Afghanistan relations: Post-2014 challenges.” Strategic Studies 34, no. 2/3 (2014): 20–46, https://www.jstor.org/stable/48527538
 See for instance: Abdul Raqeeb Sail, “Pakistan’s visa rate reaches $750 in black market,” Pajhwok, April 27, 2022, https://pajhwok.com/2022/04/27/pakistans-visa-rate-reaches-750-in-black-market/
 Telephonic conversation with Ahmed Jan, an Afghan national from Kabul. June 2022.
 Telephonic conversation with Firdous Ali, an Afghan trader from Jalalabad. June 2022.
 Tolo News, “Travellers face trouble at Spin Boldak, Chaman crossings,” June 21, 2022, https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-178578
 Zia Ur-Rehman and Emily Schmil, “The Taliban have staffing issues: They are looking for help in Pakistan,” New York Times, January 13, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/13/world/taliban-members.html
 Interview with a mid-level Taliban leader in Karachi. January 21, 2022.
 “Taliban willing to send Afghan troops to India for training: Mullah Yaqoob,” The Express Tribune, June 4, 2022, https://tribune.com.pk/story/2360038/no-issues-in-sending-army-personnel-to-india-for-training-taliban
 Interview with Tahir Khan, an Islamabad-based journalist. June 9, 2022.
 Aziz Buneri, “Border hurdles hurt Pak-Afghan trade,” Profit, January 31, 2022, https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/01/31/border-hurdles-hurt-pak-afghan-trade
 Wakil-ur-Rehman, “Two parallel payment systems in vogue for Pak-Afghan trade,” Samaa, November 5, 2021, https://www.samaaenglish.tv/news/2450718
 Interview with Wakil-ur-Rehman, a Karachi based journalist. June 12, 2022.
 Telephonic conversation with Azmat Achakzai. June 2022.