On August 24, the Institute for Peace & Diplomacy (IPD) hosted a panel discussion titled “What’s next for Afghanistan Amid Taliban’s Rise and US Withdrawal?”. The virtual panel was held from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM (EST) and can be watched on YouTube.
The US military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on August 31st, while the Taliban has advanced its rapid takeover of districts and key cities and border crossings, despite being vastly outnumbered by the Afghan military. In response, Kabul has resorted to arming local tribes and militias to push back the Taliban. On the other hand, in hopes of securing their long-term security and economic interests in Afghanistan, global and regional stakeholders are currently engaged in negotiations with the Taliban aimed at moving Afghanistan toward an inclusive interim administration. However, the success of the Taliban offensive calls into question whether they will ever rejoin long-stalled peace talks in Qatar given the possibility of the group taking over the power by force.
To uncover these developments and discuss the future of Afghanistan, we will host a panel discussion with distinguished experts from the United States and Canada to discuss a variety of issues including but not limited to the interests of Western powers in Afghanistan, the role of regional governments in the post-US/NATO withdrawal era, and what a future Afghan government will look like.
Update: In an earlier announcement it was mentioned that Afghanistan’s ambassador to Canada H.E. Hassan Soroosh will join this event as a keynote speaker. On Aug 16, we were informed that Ambassador Soroosh cannot participate in the discussion due to recent developments in Afghanistan. The event will start right at 11 AM EST with our 4 distinguished experts.
Dr. William Ruger: Vice President for Research and Policy at the Charles Koch Institute and Vice President for Foreign Policy at Stand Together.
William Ruger serves as Vice President for Research and Policy at the Charles Koch Institute. He was previously an Associate Professor (with tenure) in the Department of Political Science at Texas State University and an adjunct Assistant Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin.
Ruger is a veteran of the Afghanistan War and was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign medal with campaign star, and the Non-Article 5 NATO Service Medal, among other decorations. He remains an officer in the U.S. Navy (Reserve Component). Ruger was nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and was appointed by the president to the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board in 2020.
Dr. Max Abrahms: Senior Fellow at the Institute for Peace & Diplomacy, Associate Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University, and author of Rules for Rebels: The Science of Victory in Militant History.
Max Abrahms is an associate professor of political science at Northeastern University. In addition to his positions at Northeastern University, he is a senior fellow at the Institute for Peace & Diplomacy and a non-resident fellow at Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He has held fellowships and other research positions with the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, the Empirical Studies of Conflict project at Princeton University, the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College, the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point Military Academy, the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University, the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University, the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University, the Human Security Centre in London, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Center for the Study of Terrorism in Rome, the Belfer Center at Harvard University, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Dr. Nilofar Sakhi: Director of Policy and Diplomacy, McColm & Company and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center
Nilofar Sakhi is the director of policy and diplomacy at McColm & Company and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center. She is also a professorial lecturer at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. She was formerly a visiting fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy and Columbia University and was a fellow at Asia Society and the International Center for Tolerance Education.
Sakhi is a scholar and policy practitioner who has written extensively on various aspects of transitional security, human security, and peacemaking and peacebuilding processes and recently released the book Human Security and Agency: Reframing Productive Power in Afghanistan. She has been involved in assisting peace and counter-insurgency policy formulation and has been involved in the Afghan peace processes since 2010; she remains a regular commentator in media and writer on analyzing the challenges and prospects of peace processes.
Sakhi holds a PhD in international conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University, a master’s degree in international public policy from Johns Hopkins University, and a master’s degree in conflict transformation and peacebuilding from Eastern Mennonite University.
Dr. Nipa B Banerjee: Senior Fellow at the School of International Development and Global Studies (University of Ottawa) and Former Head of Canada’s Aid Program in Afghanistan
Nipa Banerjee earned doctorate and master’s degrees, specializing in development studies, from Toronto, Carleton and McMaster universities in Canada. She served as a practitioner and policy analyst in international development and foreign aid for over 35 years. She worked with Canadian Universities Services Overseas, International Development Research Center, and for 33 years in CIDA, Canada’s International Development Agency. She represented CIDA in Bangladesh, Indonesia, India/Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Afghanistan. She has published policy briefs and book chapters on Canada’s and the international community’s role in Afghanistan, where she travels frequently.
Shelly Kittleson: Award-winning journalist reporting from the Middle East and Afghanistan for Al-Monitor