Almost two years ago, the Afghan government and security forces collapsed even before the final U.S. soldier left Afghanistan. The decision to withdraw was part of an agreement between the Trump administration and the Taliban, following years of diplomatic efforts and months of intense negotiations. President Biden, upon taking office, upheld this commitment instead of choosing renewed conflict with the Taliban. Diplomatic efforts continue under U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West and U.S. Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights Rina Amiri, but there have been no significant breakthroughs for either side. The Taliban’s main demands include international recognition, lifting of sanctions, and access to frozen foreign exchange reserves. The U.S. and its partners insist on counterterrorism commitments, an inclusive government, and restoring rights for women and girls. What are the U.S.’s interests in Afghanistan two years after withdrawal? How should the U.S. interact with the Taliban? How can the U.S. engage with Afghans? How can U.S. policymakers balance the desires of the Afghan diaspora with those of Afghans within the country? Does engagement give the Taliban credibility without yielding any benefits, or is it a necessary step? Join us for a panel that explores these questions and more with Tripp Copeland, former Foreign Affairs Officer for the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation in Doha, Qatar, Jonathan Schroden, Director of the Center for Naval Analyses’ Countering Threats and Challenges Program, and Shkula Zadran, Afghanistan’s 2020 Youth Representative to the United Nations. Adam Weinstein, Deputy Director of the Quincy Institute’s Middle East Program, will moderate. Download the full webinar transcript here.
Tripp Copeland worked as an intelligence analyst for the Department of Defense for over a decade and later served in the State Department for over four years. While at the State Department, he served for three years as a Foreign Affairs Officer for the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation in Doha, Qatar, where he engaged in face-to-face meetings with Taliban representatives. Following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, he served as a Foreign Affairs Officer for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the Office of Afghanistan Affairs.
Dr. Jonathan Schroden is the Director of the Center for Naval Analyses’ Countering Threats and Challenges Program, whose mission is to support U.S. government efforts to understand and counter state and non-state threats. Dr. Schroden has deployed or traveled 13 times to Afghanistan, twice in support of the Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and once in support of the Commander, Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan (CSTC-A). He served as a strategic advisor to the U.S. Central Command and the ISAF in Afghanistan.
Shkula Zadran is a graduate student of Global Affairs at New York University. She served as the Afghan Youth Representative to the United Nations in 2020. She is a human rights advocate with five years of experience working with NGOs focusing on Afghan IDPs, immigrants, women, and children. She left Afghanistan in August 2021.
Adam Weinstein (Moderator) is Deputy Director of the Middle East Program at the Quincy Institute. He previously worked for KPMG’s international trade practice. Adam’s current research focuses on security, trade, and rule of law in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East. He previously worked as senior law and policy analyst at the National Iranian American Council where he focused on the securitization of U.S. immigration policy and its effect on immigrant communities. Adam served as a U.S. Marine and deployed to Uruzgan Province Afghanistan in 2012.