By Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig
The districts of Chitral have very long border with the northeastern part of Afghanistan. The Afghan province in the northwest of Chitral is known as Badaxan and the Wakhan corridor is a district of that province. From Arandu to Chap Aan – at the last tip of the valley of Arkari – is a porous border where summer inroads – cattle thefts, flock thefts – and other alpine crimes are not as usual as they were in the past.
The passes such as Durah, Nuqsan, Kharinza, Sad Istiragh and Chap Aan have always been used in summers for import and export. Caravans of Badaxi traders came down the Lotkuh valley with carpets, horse riding kits, Salajeet, red colour salt, Zeera and other items for sale in the Chitral town and carried back clothes, tea, gurh, daggers etc. The caravans also paid taxes to the ruler of Chitral.
This business was brisk via Durah pass but the other passes opening into Akari valley were mostly used for opium and this section was also very popular with state dissidents who fled to Zebak via any of these passes. Durah was also used for invasion from Badaxan as well as Boroghil which was a longer route. This was the situation when Russia invaded Afghanistan
Noor Muhammad Taraki and his comrades occupied Kabul and arrival of Soviet troops with destructive ammunition and weapons frightened the Afghans who had no option except to take refuge in Pakistan and Iran. USA supported the refugees and trained them into freedom fighters. The Durah Pass became busier than before for consignment of weapons of mass destruction and the dictator of Pakistan extended every possible help to the CIA. The Soviet troops fought but lost and left the country filled with mine fields that still exist. The Mujahideen fought against the invaders and then among themselves and divided the country into so many ethnic identities. The north was held by one faction, the west by another, the east by another rival and the south by Pathans.
They fought ferociously and came into Chitral freely. They carried all food items from Chitral uninterruptedly; they killed their enemies in the refugee camps in Chitral in large number. They had brought their old enmity across the border into Chitral along with charas, opium and heroin and turned it into a drug route.
They also carried guns from here but after receiving the Klashnikov rifles they resold them in the market of Chitral. They engaged many Chitralis as their helpers and carried out a trade of ammunition in large quantity. Thus Chitralis also got into the trade and became smugglers, mine dealers, heroin traffickers and the evils spread widely and the Zia regime did nothing to stop the spread of these evils.
Chitralis had vacated their guest rooms for the refugees, gave them a number of facilities such as shops to do business. Every kind of facility was never withheld as they thought to be called ANSAR but when in winters Chitralis found no route to Peshawar they ventured to enter Kunhar valley on the presumption that Mujahideen are our friends but Chitrali travelers were looted on way to Peshawar, their cash was taken from their pockets and thus the Afghan Mujahideen returned to us in the shape of plunder, raids and looting. We learnt lessons from their behavior that this nation will never see any blessing of Allah because they misbehaved against those who had helped them in their dire necessity.
The warlords who control that piece of land called Afghanistan shall never be able to enjoy peace whoever comes to power in Kabul unless this country is put under UN protection and divided on the basis on ethnic groups – one in the north for Tajiks and the other in the west for Hazaras. And the third in the south for Pathans and compelled to compete with each other in the restoration of peace and the winner shall be awarded and the loser be punished collectively.
This nation needs that option for at least 50 years.