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World

IPRI hosts webinar on "The Way Forward for Afghanistan"

  • On Thursday, the Islamabad Policy Research Institute organised a webinar on "Has the Forever War Ended? The Way Forward for Afghanistan.
  • The webinar discussed the implications of the Biden Administration's decision to withdraw military forces by September this year.
Updated 30 Apr 2021

On Thursday, the Islamabad Policy Research Institute organised a webinar on "Has the Forever War Ended? The Way Forward for Afghanistan.

The webinar discussed the implications of the Biden Administration's decision to withdraw military forces by September this year.

Richard Olson, Former Ambassador of the United States to Pakistan, stated that "Counter-terrorism is not the principle framing device for the United States policy as it was in the first decade of this century. The decision would allow Washington to focus on Indo-Pacific region".

Giving an insight into Washington's perspective, Ambassador (Retd.) Olson argued that there is a significant shift in the United States' "grand strategy" in Afghanistan, adding that they would continue to provide "robust security and development assistance to Afghanistan" even after the withdrawal of troops.

When questioned on the nature of incentives the United States is offering to the Taliban to join the interim government, Olson elaborated that the main incentive is the withdrawal of American forces from the country.

The former Ambassador pointed out that narrow incentives such as the de-sanctioning of Taliban which will allow them to travel openly, adding that “If Taliban lives up to proclaimed moderate vision, international assistance would continue to flow”.

Ambassador (Retd.) Riaz Khan, former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, shared that the Taliban are not the same as they were in the 1990s, and have relatively modernised over the past two decades.

Lt. Gen. Naeem Lodhi, former Defense Secretary, argued that the United States would maintain influence in the region, adding that "U.S. would prevent Chinese influence in the region. Also, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Iran are some of the interests why U.S. would remain in the region".