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       1951: Afghanistan

Area and Population.

Afghanistan is a landlocked country of about 250,000 sq. mi. and between 7 and 12 million inhabitants, mostly Mohammedan.

Foreign Relations.


The differences between Afghanistan and Pakistan over their joint border continued and in some ways were intensified during 1951. In January Pakistan made two protests in ten days to India, complaining that two India government officials had addressed or entertained officially delegates to an "All-India Pushtu Jirga," a tribal meeting held in Delhi to support a scheme to detach from Pakistan approximately the whole area west of the Indus River in order to form a Pushtunistan state. In January, also, Pakistan reported that, at jirgas held at Government House in Peshawar, three clans in the Mohmand Hills east of the Durand Line (the Safis, the Kodakhels, and the Khawezais) had pledged loyalty to Pakistan. Border violations brought two complaints from Pakistan in the first week of May, and a third protest was lodged on May 8. Officials in Karachi, Pakistan, said that 300 Afghan soldiers had raided the village of Killi Walham, 25 mi. southwest of Chaman, Baluchistan Province, on May 6. On June 3, a dispatch from Karachi reported that Pakistan had protested to India against the contravention of "international law and diplomatic etiquette" in allowing the Afghan ambassador in India to deliver a strongly anti-Pakistan speech over the All-India radio.

Reports reached Karachi that 30 Afghans and Pakistani were killed and 10 wounded on July 2 in a skirmish between their forces, near the Pakistani outpost of Dobandi, 6 mi. east of Chaman, Baluchistan Province. Late in August, the office of the High Commissioner for Pakistan issued a strong protest against the action of the Afghanistan Embassy in London, which had issued invitations to a reception to celebrate "Pushtunistan Day" on September 2. The Afghanistan government replied by accusing the Pakistan government of repeatedly bombing the tribesmen and of occupying military posts in order to suppress the tribesmen's desire for independence. On September 1, Afghanistan's Ambassador to Moscow said his country might carry its dispute with Pakistan to the U.N. General Assembly. Sultan Ahmed Khan told Soviet and foreign news reporters that Afghanistan almost certainly would raise the question of self-determination of Pushtunistan soon, if Pakistan did not change its stand.

When Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan of Pakistan was assassinated in October, the Pakistan government declared officially that the assassin had been identified as a national of Afghanistan named Said Akbar from the village of Khost. However, the Pakistan government avoided mention of any connection between the Afghanistan government and the assassin.

United States.

Afghanistan's relations with the United States centered on personalities. In February, The New York Times reported that Seyed Abdul Ahad, Afghanistan Under Secretary of Mining, was in the United States on a U.N. fellowship to study American mining methods. Also in February, Afghanistan signed an agreement for U.S. assistance under the Point Four program. In March, President Truman appointed George R. Merrell, former Ambassador to Ethiopia, to succeed Louis G. Dreyfus as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. During the early spring, the Prime Minister of Afghanistan, Sardar Shah Khan, visited the United States, and on April 24 was entertained by President Truman at a Blair House luncheon.

United Nations.

The United Nations, especially through its specialized agencies, rendered increasing service to Afghanistan. Agents of U.N.I.C.E.F. were administering aid to the children of Afghanistan. Under an expanded program, the U.N. sent six economic-development experts to Afghanistan; the F.A.O. sent five experts and provided four fellowships for study; and W.H.O. had one full-time health-program expert as well as resident technical-assistance representatives.

In February, it was announced that Philip G. Beck had been named U.N. technical-assistance representative to help Afghanistan in a co-ordinated program of national economic development with the assistance of five other U.N. specialized agencies. In May, the United Nations announced that Louis August Delaive, a Dutch mining engineer, had left for Kabul to assist Afghanistan in the drilling of exploratory oil wells.

The Near East and India.

Afghanistan signed a contract for a small quantity of oil from Iran, though the problem of transport would seem to prevent its delivery. On August 9, the Kabul radio reported that Afghanistan had signed treaties of friendship with Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria and that the treaties had been ratified by the Afghan National Assembly. On September 5 the Premier of Afghanistan arrived in Delhi, India, for an official visit. Early in November it was announced that the Indian government had decided to start a weekly air service to link New Delhi with Kabul. To avoid flying over the proscribed northwest territory of Pakistan, the flights were to go from New Delhi to Karachi, Pakistan, thence to Zahidan, Iran, and from there to Kabul.