SPIA’s Afghanistan Policy Lab Speaks on Taliban-Controlled Region During U.N. Counter-Terrorism Week

Jun 26 2023
By Staff

On June 22, the Afghanistan Policy Lab (APL) at Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) organized an important event at the United Nations that brought Afghanistan to the international spotlight, as delegates from across the world convened in New York to discuss the pressing world security issues in the region during Counter-Terrorism Week.

In their opening remarks, Naseer Faiq, Chargé d'Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations and Richard Arbeiter, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations, stressed the importance of continued international attention to the situation in Afghanistan. Delivering the keynote speech, Ambassador Ana Jiménez de la Hoz, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Spain to the United Nations, highlighted the dire humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, as well as the plight of Afghan women under the Taliban’s rule. 

While appreciating the international community’s solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, Nahid Farid, a professional specialist with the APL, emphasized that unity is not enough, and that the world needs to act now to positively change the situation. 

These remarks were followed by an interactive panel moderated by Arian Sharifi, lecturer and associate research scholar at SPIA. The event brought together five experts who critically analysed and explained the threats a Taliban-run Afghanistan poses to the region and the world. Among the points the panel addressed: 

  • Hans-Jakob Schindler, senior director of the Counter Extremism Project, presented the latest trends in the Taliban’s relations with transnational narcotics syndicates, showing how heroin and methamphetamines produced in Afghanistan are smuggled across the region and beyond. 
  • Ambassador Edmund Fitton-Brown, former United Nations Security Council Coordinator, discussed the Taliban’s enduring relations with foreign terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State Khorasan Province.
  • Elizabeth Joyce, chief of section at the United Nations Counter Terrorism Committee pointed out the human rights violations by the Taliban, the plight of Afghan women under the Taliban, and the precarious situation of Afghan refugees in the region and across the world.
  • Adria de Landri, resident fellow at the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law, emphasized the importance of international technical assistance to Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries, including counter-terrorism, border security, and refugee resettlement.

Concluding the panel, Sharifi pointed out that neither improving the situation for the people of Afghanistan, nor neutralizing and preventing the security threats emanating from Afghanistan is possible if there is an exclusionary Taliban regime in power. He emphasized that the only solution to the problem is the creation of a broad-based, inclusive government in Afghanistan through the full implementation of the Doha Agreement, which the Taliban made clear commitments toward. “We must hold them to their commitments,” he said.