The Future of US Policy in Afghanistan
Human Rights, US Military Presence, and Confronting the Taliban

January 25, 2021 10:00 AM    Webinar

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Join us on Monday, January 25th for a discussion on the future of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, featuring a diverse panel of experts: Associate Asia Director of Human Rights Watch (BRUSSELS) Patricia Gossman; The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs Hosna Jalil; Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation Dr. Asfandyir Mir; Co-Director of Brookings’ Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology Michael O’Hanlon; and Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Governance and Markets at the University of Pittsburgh Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili (moderator).

As of November 2020, U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan appears closer to an end, with U.S. troop levels decreasing in line with the February 29, 2020, U.S.-Taliban agreement on the issues of counterterrorism and the withdrawal of U.S. and international troops. This conversation will address U.S. efforts to withdrawal troops, build counterterrorism agreements, while also working to help maintain Afghanistan’s political and major human rights achievements secured over the past decade. The discussion will consider how these efforts can be achieved despite the outsized role U.S. assistance plays in supporting the Afghan government and amidst the backdrop of a strengthened Taliban military position within the region.


Patricia Gossman is an associate director for the Asia division. Prior to joining HRW, Dr. Gossman was Director of the Afghanistan Program at the International Center for Transitional Justice on Afghanistan, and was the founder and director of the Afghanistan Justice Project, an OSI-funded project to document war crimes committed during the Afghan conflict, 1978-2001. She was Senior Researcher for South Asia at Human Rights Watch in the 1990s, covering not only Afghanistan, but India, Pakistan and Nepal. Dr. Gossman received her doctorate in South Asian Studies from the University of Chicago and is widely published on human rights issues in the region.

Hosna Jalil is Deputy Minister of Interior for Policy Affairs in the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. She is the first woman to serve in this high level position at the Ministry. DM Jalil has worked on numerous initiatives including on security and law enforcement cooperation with the international community in Afghanistan. DM Jalil’s vision is peace in Afghanistan and she works tirelessly to achieve that by fighting at multiple fronts. She has a master’s degree from American University of Afghanistan. She was born in Afghanistan where she lives and proudly calls home. DM Jalil tweets from @hosnajalil.

Dr. Asfandyar Mir is a Postdoctoral fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. His research is on the international security of South Asia, US counterterrorism policy, and Al-Qaida, with a regional focus on Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Some of his research has appeared in peer-reviewed journals, such as International Security, International Studies Quarterly, and Security Studies, and his commentary has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, H-Diplo, Lawfare, and Washington Post. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago.

Michael O'Hanlon is a senior fellow, and director of research, in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, where he specializes in U.S. defense strategy, the use of military force, and American national security policy. He co-directs the Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology; the Defense Industrial Base working group; and the Africa Security Initiative within the Foreign Policy program, as well. He is an adjunct professor at Columbia and Georgetown universities, a professional lecturer at George Washington University, and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. O’Hanlon was also a member of the external advisory board at the Central Intelligence Agency from 2011-12.

Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili (moderator) is the Director of the Center for Governance and Markets and Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research explores questions of governance, political economy, security, and development with a geographical focus on Central and South Asia and the former Soviet Union. Her first book, Informal Order and the State in Afghanistan, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016. It was awarded the best book prize (for the proceeding two years) in social sciences by the Central Eurasian Studies Society (2018) and honorable mention by the Global Development Studies Section of the International Studies Association (2017). A second book, Land, the State, and War: Property Rights and The Origins of Political Order in Afghanistan (with Ilia Murtazashvili) is forthcoming with the Cambridge University Press series Economics, Choice, and Society.