March, 8th -9th
The upcoming withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan in a context of growing internal political and economic instability requires a strengthened political framework and new strategic approaches. While the international community’s main challenge in Afghanistan and Pakistan will continue to be the creation of secure states in contexts of instability, it must begin to do so through different means.
Currently the international community is focused on isolating Islamic extremist groups and working towards more productive relations with the civilian governments and security services of these countries. While these are central issues for the countries in question, for the region and beyond, other more specific and longer term challenges with a strong regional dimension and central to the stability of this strategic region must also be addressed.
Since the stability and economic viability of both countries is highly interlinked, support will be required from Pakistan and other concerned regional actors. The active participation of India, Iran, China, Russia, the Central Asian republics and the Gulf, countries, among others, is indispensable.
The policy research project Sources of Tension in Afghanistan & Pakistan: Regional Perspectives explores the main sources of tension in Afghanistan and Pakistan and regional actors’ roles in relation to these. It will map their interests; produce specific policy recommendations useful for UN, EU and European government stakeholders, as well as Afghan and Pakistani policymakers; and clarify the type of regional, comprehensive approach required of the international community in this strategic location.
The project includes a series of papers, research initiatives, expert roundtable seminars and a final public conference in which conclusions would be presented to policy makers from Europe, including Norway, Spain and the EU. An on-line Afghanistan Pakistan Observatory will be established at the end of the project to include the project’s papers; and to monitor and discuss ongoing change.
Project Coordinator: Dr. Emma Hooper