Central Asia and Iran, as Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours, arguably have the most to gain from peace and stability in Afghanistan, not only in terms of security — but also increased regional connectivity, trade and development. Conversely, if the Afghan peace process fails and results in a hostile takeover by Islamist forces — they also stand to lose considerably, given their geographical proximity, and historically shared cultural and religious links, and ethnic affiliations with Afghanistan. While the involvement of Central Asian states in Afghan affairs has remained limited to investing in infrastructure development and providing diplomatic support to the Afghan government, instability in Afghanistan continues to be a serious security concern for the region. In the case of Iran too, it’s reported affinity with the Taliban and troubled ties with the United States notwithstanding, the growing threat of Islamic State/Daesh militants establishing a substantial presence in Afghanistan, remains a persisting concern.
Can Iran set aside its longstanding rivalry with the US, and use its ties with the Taliban as a point of leverage in favour of a sustainable solution to the conflict in Afghanistan?
Organised by Observer Research Foundation in collaboration with Her Afghanistan, this webinar will explore how Iran and the Central Asian states of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan view the unfolding security and political situation on the ground in Afghanistan, and the ways in which it implicates each of them.
Ahmad Shuja Jamal, Director General for International Affairs and Regional Cooperation, Office of the National Security Council, Afghanistan
Akramjon Nematov, First Deputy Director, Institute of Strategic & Regional Studies under the President of Uzbekistan
Sultan Akimbekov, Director, Institute of Asian Studies, Kazakhstan
Anahita Saymidinova, Reporter, Iran International TV Channel, Tajikistan
Adnan Tabatabai, Co-founder & CEO, Centre for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient
Mariam Wardak, Founder, Her Afghanistan
Kabir Taneja, Fellow, ORF