Last month’s announcement that all U.S and international troops will leave Afghanistan before September 11, 2021 has sparked intense debate over the country’s future after over four decades of near-continuous conflict. Deteriorating security conditions, uncertainty over the level of international engagement moving forward and political instability pose great risks to the fragile peace process and the prospects for a sustainable political settlement. Many analysts have compared the current moment to the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, an alarming parallel given the years of civil war and Taliban rule that followed.
The current peace process in Afghanistan has resurfaced a discussion on what sort of political structure works for the country. The topic has crossed political divides, with the Taliban and current government elites agreeing on the need for centralization but disagreeing on who controls the center and a range of minorities and local powerholders favoring greater autonomy. Decentralization has been a vexing issue for many decades but may provide opportunities in the current peace process because it creates more pieces of the political pie to divide among the factions that are fighting for more power and representation. These issues are at the heart of our discussion tomorrow! Join CFoA for a discussion with our distinguished panelists as they reflect on Afghan politics and the country's relationship with the international community as U.S. troops withdraw.
- Tobias Ellwood MP, Chair of the Defence Select Committee
- Shabnam Nasimi, Executive Director of Conservative Friends of Afghanistan (moderator)
- Ambassador Richard Olson, Senior Advisor at the US Institute of Peace, and former U.S Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- Alexander Thier, CEO, Global Fund to End Modern Slavery and Senior Democracy Fellow at Freedom House
- Dipali Mukhopadhyay, Senior Expert at the United States Institute of Peace
- Weeda Mehran - Lecturer at the Department of Politics and the Director of MA in Conflict, Security and Development at the University of Exeter.
- David Loyn, Award-winning foreign correspondent, author and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Kings College University.
- Omar Sharifi, Country Director, American Institute of Afghanistan Studies