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25 Jun 2019, 13:47 HRS IST
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  • PTI
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    • Bookworm
  • Ex-diplomat explores Afghan history, Durand Line in new book
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  • he should weave the theme about Afghanistan.

    "Around that time there was also a change in American administration, and Trump's ideas about Afghanistan were different from those of Obama's. So flux was inevitable. That made up my mind. The result was a story that has never been told before," he says.

    The research part was tough, he says.

    "I do not have the training of a historian. Whereas, this was a mysterious chapter of history which the British wanted people to forget," he says.

    "There was nothing to help me in the process of research because no one had so far written a book on this subject. So it was back-breaking work of 15 to 16 hours a day for months together. But in the end, my persistence paid off. I am happy that I have been able to present the truth to Afghans and to the world," Dogra says.

    According to him, he had to combine the skills of a diplomat with the curiosity of an investigator to look for clues about what actually happened on that winter day of November 1893 in Kabul.

    The Durand Line, he says, was an artificial imposition.

    "It was never meant to be a boundary as I have proved in my book. The Afghans have never accepted it. And every Afghan government has rejected this line."

    Ideally speaking, the Afghan territory should begin at the Indus, he says.

    "That is the natural and geographical boundary between India and Afghanistan because the culture, the language, the social mores and indeed the DNA of the people west of Indus are different from ours on this side of the Indus.

    "But the British had a phobia of Russia. Consequently, they forced the artificial construct of a Durand Line on an unwilling and resentful population. Some call the Durand Line the biggest British crime of the 19th century."

    Asked what is the way out for Afghanistan now, Dogra says it should be left alone to manage its affairs.

    "But that seems unlikely. If Afghanistan continues to be treated like a vast chess game, then someday its people’s frustrations could boil over. All Pathans could rally in its

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