Line in the Sand: A Historical Study of Border Security During Insurgencies and Lessons for the Contemporary Afghan-Pakistan Frontier   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the thesis abstract: "There is increasing consensus amongst those nations engaged in the stabilisation and reconstruction of Afghanistan that Taliban sanctuaries in the ungoverned border regions of Pakistan are central to the insurgency in both countries. Two individual or complementary means of countering this problem include the denial of sanctuary in Pakistan and improving border security between the two countries. This paper examines the border security measures used in three historical insurgencies: Algeria (1954-62), Dhofar (1968-75) and Rhodesia (1965-80). The study applies the methods and lessons from these historical examples to the contemporary Afghan-Pakistan border. Using this framework, the author attempts to support the thesis that traditional methods of border security, even with the use of modern technology, are not applicable to the Afghan-Pakistan border. Furthermore, attempts at obtaining such control would prove counterproductive to this counterinsurgency. The analysis focuses on physical barriers, population resettlement, external action, tribal or auxiliary forces and in-depth interdiction. The study finds that barriers and population resettlement are impractical for use in Afghanistan and likely to result in adverse consequences at the strategic level. The other measures have varying degrees of utility and applicability. The author concludes that a high degree of border control is unachievable along the Afghan-Pakistan border and suggests that border security should remain an economy of effort within the overall campaign. If these findings are accepted, it implies that the U.S. led Coalition should resist calls to concentrate on the border and, instead, strengthen security in the interior of Afghanistan and Pakistan."

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