Report – Panel Discussion on “Conversations on the Evolving Situation in Afghanistan: Europe’s Role in Afghanistan”

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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: Europe’s Role in Afghanistan’ which is the sixth in a series of conversations CAMEA is having on Afghanistan – under its ‘Conversations on the Evolving situation in Afghanistan’.

The distinguished speakers included: Mr. Graeme Smith, former Senior Consultant on Afghanistan at the Crisis Group, Ambassador Nadeem Riyaz, former Pakistan Ambassador to Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia & current President Institute of Regional Studies (IRS), Mr. Daud Khattak, Managing Editor, Radio Mashaal (a Pashto language unit, broadcasting to regions on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border), Dr. Christian Wagner, Senior Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), and Mr. Sangar Paykhar, founder of Afghan Eye podcast, freelance journalist & commentator on Afghan affairs. Ms. Amina Khan, Director CAMEA, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General ISSI and Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman BOG, ISSI, also participated in the discussion.

During her opening remarks, Ms. Amina Khan, Director CAMEA said although the Taliban gave assurances that they would work towards the formation of an inclusive political set-up, the interim government is anything but inclusive. However, even within the confines of a Taliban dominated set-up, a lot will depend on how the group delivers on governance, foreign relations, CT assurances, as well as human rights. If the Taliban fail to deliver, it risks losing support and recognition needed by the group to legitimize its rule. Hence, Taliban should work towards a future inclusive government.  She further said that Europe has been a key player in Afghanistan, being the second largest political, economic and security contributor, making Afghanistan the largest beneficiary of EU development assistance. Apart from fearing the loss of gains made during the past two decades, in the light of recent developments, key concerns for Europe revolve around instability, terrorism and increased migration. Moreover, Europe’s engagement, recognition, funding, and cooperation with the Taliban will be conditioned upon the group meeting its commitments.

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