The Future of Afghanistan
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The Future of Afghanistan
14th June 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
As the US-led full NATO withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan gets underway, severe security considerations remain largely unanswered. The Taliban are likely set to seize more control in the imminent and inevitable power vacuum. A growing Islamic State in Khorasan Province, in addition to a resurgent Al-Qaeda, are also taking root across the country. Weekly attacks in Kabul by these competing factions attest to this worsening security situation, in a potential return to the civil war which ravaged the country 30 years ago.
In the midst of these impending security challenges, the tangible gains made across the country risk halting, if not reversing altogether. In particular, the rights of women, which have been strongly defended in Afghanistan by NATO and Afghan troops, would collapse should an emboldened Taliban come to power. This is especially worrying considering regional partners may well prioritise a more stable domestic security situation in Kabul over continued progress on women’s rights – in addition to the explicit rights of traditionally marginalised ethnicities such as the Shia Hazara.
President Biden set the withdrawal deadline for the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 atrocity, but does this politically arbitrary deadline reflect the security situation on the ground? Many think not. The crucial questions now turn to what outcomes NATO – and indeed regional allies – can still influence after the troop withdrawal. As Australia – a vital military ally in Afghanistan – announces the closure of its embassy in Kabul, there remain serious doubts about NATO’s effectiveness going forwards, as well as the very survival of the Afghan government.
The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to this timely and informative event, where we will hear from expert speakers, practitioners and policy makers, who will discuss key themes around this highly topical issue.
Naheed Farid is a Member of the Afghanistan Parliament representing the people of Herat. Mrs. Farid serves as the Chair of the Human Rights, Civil Society and Women’s Affairs Commission where she is a vocal champion for Afghanistan’s women and a strong supporter of human rights. Mrs. Farid became the youngest person ever to be elected to the Afghanistan Parliament in 2010 at the age of 27.
Col. Richard Kemp CBE is a retired British Army officer who served from 1977 to 2006. Kemp was an infantry battalion Commanding Officer. Among his assignments were the command of Operation Fingal in Afghanistan from July to November 2003, and work for the Joint Intelligence Committee and COBR.
Lynne O’Donnell is an Australian journalist, war correspondent, author, and analyst. She was the Afghanistan Bureau Chief for Agence France-Presse and the Associated Press between 2009 and 2017. In 2011 she won the Amnesty International Human Rights Press Award for her series of stories on Afghan women. Lynne is currently based in Kabul.
Haji Ajmal Rahmani is a Member of the Afghanistan Parliament representing the people of Kabul. Mr. Rahmani serves as the Common Coordination Leader (Majority Whip) of Parliament. He is also the Advisory Board Chairman of the Afghanistan-US Democratic Peace and Prosperity Council, a Washington, D.C. based organization that advocates for closer ties between the U.S. Government and Afghan Parliament.
Robert Clark is a Research Fellow in the Henry Jackson Society’s Global Britain Programme. He completed a BA in International Relations and Arabic (First Class Honours) at Nottingham Trent University, and an MA in International Conflict Studies (Distinction) at King’s College London. Robert’s main research interests include emerging technologies within defence, alliance building and the trans-Atlantic partnership, and authoritarian threats to the global order. Robert’s most recent publications include for the NATO Defence College and Civitas. He has regularly submitted evidence for both the Defence and Foreign Affairs Select Committees, and is a regular contributor for the UK Defence Journal, in addition to writing for The Telegraph, CapX and The Wavell Room. Robert served for nine years in the British Army, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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