The Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East & Africa (CAMEA) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) held a Panel Discussion on ‘Conversations on the evolving situation in Afghanistan: Russia’s Role in Afghanistan,’ a fifth in a series of conversations CAMEA is having on Afghanistan – under its Conversations on the evolving situation in Afghanistan series.
The distinguished speakers included: Ambassador Omar Samad, Non-resident Senior Fellow Atlantic Council; Dr. Alexander A. Kornilov, Prof. Dr. at Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod, Head of Region Studies of Foreign Countries; Dr. Nigel Gould-Davies, Senior Fellow for Russia and Eurasia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS); Ambassador Qazi M. Khalilullah, Executive Director Centre for International Strategic Studies Sindh (CISSS) & Former Ambassador of Pakistan to Russia; Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General, ISSI and Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman BOG, ISSI, also took part in the discussion.
During her opening remarks, Ms. Amina Khan, Director CAMEA, said that with the US withdrawal, the real test for Afghanistan has only just begun. It is imperative for the Taliban to engage with Afghan stakeholders and form a government that is inclusive and representative of all Afghans. This is a historic opportunity for all Afghans to come together and work for the future of Afghanistan. Despite previous differences, regional stakeholders, including Russia are coming out of the woodwork to assume a more substantive role in the future of Afghanistan. Pakistan, Iran, Russia, China, and the Central Asian nations appear to have a common (regional) vision for the future of Afghanistan, which entails regional ownership, recognition of a negotiated settlement with the Afghan Taliban as a key component, inclusive political set up, as well as curbing transnational terrorist groups, the illegal flow of arms and trade. Needless to say, in such trying times, Russia’s role has been revitalized as a supportive regional actor highlighting Moscow’s keen involvement in the peace process and its desire to showcase itself as a leading player and advocate for peace and stability in the region.