Professor William Maley and journalist Christina Lamb discussed the challenges Afghanistan currently faces, and ways the wider world might help address them. Questions covered included: What is the current state of politics and society in Afghanistan? How can international actors help to address the challenges the country faces? Will there be a greater role for China and Russia in Afghanistan?
A 2016 Asia Foundation survey of opinion in Afghanistan suggests that ordinary Afghans continue to hold a positive view of democracy and have very little sympathy for the armed opposition in their country. Yet while Afghanistan has seemingly survived the departure of the bulk of international forces, the position of the National Unity Government remains fragile, and civilian casualties from the ongoing conflict in different parts of the country continue to mount. In this presentation, Professor Maley described the various factors that have contributed to such a dispiriting situation, and identified steps that international actors should consider taking to prevent regime disintegration of the kind that Afghanistan witnessed in 1992 and 2001.
William Maley is Professor of Diplomacy in the Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy at The Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, Australia; and has been a Visiting Professor at the Russian Diplomatic Academy and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Refugee Studies Program at Oxford University. A regular visitor to Afghanistan, he is author of Rescuing Afghanistan (2006), The Afghanistan Wars (2009) and What is a Refugee? (2016); edited Fundamentalism Reborn? Afghanistan and the Taliban (1998); and has co-edited, with Srinjoy Bose and Nishank Motwani, a forthcoming book Afghanistan – Challenges and Prospects (2017).
Christina Lamb is one of Britain's leading foreign correspondents. Since starting out in Peshawar, where her coverage of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan saw her named Young Journalist of the Year in the British Press Awards in 1988, she has won Foreign Correspondent of the Year five times as well as the Prix Bayeux, Europe's most prestigious award for war correspondents. She was awarded an OBE by the Queen in 2013. She is currently Chief Foreign Correspondent for the Sunday Times and bestselling author, most recently of I Am Malala, co-authored with Malala Yousafzai (2013), and Farewell Kabul: From Afghanistan To A More Dangerous World (2015).
This event was chaired by Dr Gilberto Estrada Harris, Head, Office of the Director of Studies, IISS.