AIAS hosted newly-appointed French ambassador to Afghanistan Mr David Martinon on 17th of February, 2020 in Herat Citadel of Herat City. The French ambassador was invited by Prof. Michael Barry to visit the Timurid arts exhibition in Herat citadel. French Ambassador was accompanied by Director of French archaeological delegation to Afghanistan Mr Philippe Marquis and Embassy members. During the visit, Prof. Barry gave a tour of the exhibition to the French embassy delegation and described the art works in the Exhibition. The French ambassador was really impressed with the miniatures exhibited in Herat and praised the work done by the AIAS and Prof. Barry to bring the Miniatures to Herat. I, as the ambassador of France to Afghanistan, feel very proud today by visiting this exhibition that France has supported and contributed to such an incredible project, said Mr Martinon while visiting the exhibition.
French Ambassador and the director of French archaeological delegation to Afghanistan showed interest in further collaborations between the French Embassy, DAFA, and AIAS to support such kind of projects.
noteworthy that during this Herat visit, AIAS took 8 more miniatures to Herat
and installed them among the other miniatures in Herat Citadel and completed
the set of Timurid arts in Herat citadel.
AIAS hosted a number of high ranking government official at the American University of Afghanistan on 13th of February 2020. These officials included Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Deputy Director General of Administrative office of the President with some members of the administrative office of the president, deputies from ministries of public health and mines and petroleum.
During their visit, the AIAS
director Dr Omar Sharifi gave a brief introduction of the AIAS and its
activities followed by a tour of the AUAF campus which included a tour of the
Afghan art Miniatures exhibited in the AUAF. These miniatures were described to
the guests by Dr Omar Sharifi and Dr Michael Barry. The guests which were
seeing the miniatures for the first time were glad to have these art works in
Kabul and expressed their desire to cooperate at their level best in facilitating
the exhibition of these miniatures permanently in a place that could be
accessible for the public.
AIAS arranged a talk for Dr Arian Sharifi on 13th of Feb, 2020 at the American University of Afghanistan. Dr Sharifi is an Afghan-American professional with a diverse experience portfolio. He has the experience of working with various government and non-government organizations, including serving as the Director-General of National Threat Assessment at the Office of the National Security Council. Dr Sharifi holds a Doctorate (PhD) in Security Studies from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
During the talk, Dr Sharifi pointed out that whether or not the suspended US-Taliban peace negotiation would resume is a major question that would impact the future of Afghanistan. But a bigger question is whether the negotiations, even if they restart and culminate in a peace deal, would really bring peace to this country. In the lecture Dr Sharifi tried to address this question, analyzing the symbiotic relations among the various terrorist groups, including the Afghan, Pakistani, regional and global groups, as well as their relations with trans-border criminal networks. Dr Sharifi argued that over 20 terrorist groups currently operate in Afghanistan out of which the Taliban is one, albeit the biggest. Even if the US reaches an agreement with the Taliban, and that the Taliban make peace with the Afghan government, the mere existence of 19 or so other terrorist groups is enough to continue the state of war in Afghanistan.
AIAS arranged a talk for Dr Saeed Parto at the American University of Afghanistan titled an overview of Public policy process-Case Example: Anticorruption Policy Making in Afghanistan on 25th of November 2019.
Parto is the co-founder and Director of Research at Afghanistan Public Policy Research
Organization (APPRO). He has over 25 years of experience in academic and
consultancy work and holds a PhD in Human Geography from the University of
Waterloo (Canada), specializing in policy analysis.
Dr Parto started his talk with an overview of policy analysis as a cross-cutting discipline which has roots in political science, economy, political economy and sociology. Dr Parto explained the concept of policy analysis and its dynamics which are and should be always taken into account in policy development or analysis process. These dynamics are the physical and material conditions, attributes of community, decision-making style, formal institutional context, patterns of interaction and policy. One of the major points in policymaking is that at the end of every policy-making process either you identify new problems or you create new problems which mean policymaking is a never-ending process and it works like a circle. Dr Parto pointed out that the decision-making style very much depends on the context in which the decision is made. One of the reasons most of the policies made in Afghanistan neither solved a problem but created new problems is that these policies are made by a number of consultants which were not policymaking experts and they have not studied and have not taken in to account the first set of policy-making dynamics which are physical and material conditions, attributes of community, decision-making style.
the case of corruption which is one the hottest topics of study In Afghanistan
the most important part to study is the actors that are in the process and are
the major parts of the creating a corrupted system. As evidence of recent
research shows these actors are the general public, private sector and in some
cases the international donors and the most important reasons that these actors
have played a major role in creating a corrupted system is that they
intensively want to avoid confrontation instead of fighting against the
American Institute of Afghanistan studies and National Center for Dialogue and
Progress arranged a Kabul Talks program at the Afghanistan Center at Kabul
University on the 2nd October 2019.
guest speakers for the program were Dr. William Maley Professor of Diplomacy at
the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy, where he served as Foundation Director
from 1 July 2003 to 31 December 2014 and one of the academics and researchers
who has written various articles and books about Afghanistan and Dr. Sirinjoy
Bose, a Lecturer / Assistant Professor in Politics and International Relations,
Dr Bose’s research topics include critical peace/security studies including,
political order and violence, international intervention, state formation and conflict.
Dr William Maley started the program by addressing three significant elements in a peace process. The design of a peace process, the execution and implementation of the process and the timeliness of the process. Dr Maley pointed out that any peace process should be designed in a way that would include all the appropriate parties. In the Afghan peace process, the absence of the Afghan government said to a wide audience that the government is not a significant player which might affect the inclusiveness of the process and the result of it. Moreover, Dr. Maley emphasized on the execution of the process and gave the example of the Afghan peace process, a rush in the process may end up with an undesired result from the process, and this should be remembered that not all the peace processes end up with the desired result, even a well-designed process can be executed poorly, that is where the importance of the process execution comes up. In the Afghan peace process, the presence of Khalilzad as the envoy of the American government that is originally from Afghanistan created controversies that he might have a personal or political agenda towards this process and some news say that this has been one of the reasons that the process did not finish sooner or even has been cancelled.
Dr Bose started his talk with emphasizing on three policy recommendations. First of all, the need and requirement of an Afghan-owned and led peace process and he pointed out that the exclusiveness of the Afghan government from the process gives a legitimacy to Taliban and underlines the Afghan government.
the tradeoffs in the peace process, what the Afghan people are willing to give
to Taliban in the process and are ready to sacrifice for the peace and are the
Taliban willing to share the power with the Afghan people, Dr. Bose gave the
example of Kundoz, when the Taliban captured the city how they behaved with the
the regional dimension in the process. Dr. Bose emphasized on the importance of
the regional players in the process and how their presence can have positive
affect on the process.
program was concluded with a Q&A session and sharing of ideas among the
audience and guest speakers.
American Institute of Afghanistan studies and the state ministry for peace held
a program titled The Afghan peace process: The way forward at the American
University of Afghanistan on 26th of September, 2019.
State Ministry for Peace with the American Institute of Afghanistan studies
arranged the program to provide a platform through which a broad range of ideas
and perspectives about national processes could be reflected.
The program had four panellists and the program was moderated by Mr David Sedney, president of the American University of Afghanistan. The panelists were Professor William Maley, Professor of Diplomacy at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy, where he served as Foundation Director from 1 July 2003 to 31 December 2014 and one of the academics and researchers who has written various articles and books about Afghanistan, Dr. Habiba Sarabi, the Deputy Chair of the High Peace Council and the Senior Advisor on Women Affairs to the Chief Executive, Sami Mahdi, a well-known journalist who serves as the Afghanistan Bureau Chief for the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
panelists presented their perspectives about the Afghan peace process, the way
it has been taken on, the cancelation of it and the outcomes it might have on
the current situation of Afghanistan. The panelists pointed out that the only
way to make the Afghan peace process successful is a peace process between the
Afghan people and the Taliban movement and the most significant factors that
should be taken in to account in the peace process are inclusion of the Afghan
government, women, and civil society members in the peace process with the
Taliban movement, which could make a team that could represent the whole Afghan
people. The discussion was concluded with a question and answer session.
American Institute of Afghanistan Studies (AIAS) with Afghanistan center at
Kabul University (ACKU) organized the second Afghanistan studies conference
from August 17-18, 2019 at Kabul.
second-year Afghanistan studies conference brought together 60 local and global
scholars, along with 10 disciplinary and interdisciplinary panels, a Keynote
Address, and an Afghanistan Studies Book Lecture.
first day of the conference started with the welcoming and opening remarks by
Dr Omar Sharifi the AIAS director and Waheed Wafa the director of the ACKU,
followed by the first session of the day which was titled as Text, Perspective,
and Culture: The Problem of Agency in Afghanistan’s Scholarship’. The first
panel of the session one included presentations and discussions about the
people’s culture and people’s knowledge. Two distinguished scholars presented
their research papers in this panel, Dr Ali Abdi PhD, Anthropology, Yale
University (Dancing Bachas, Shakhs, and Gay Men: The Culture of Same-Sex Desire
in Kabul ) and Jalal Atai, lecturer, Breda University of Applied sciences (The
Destruction of Buddhas: Dissonant Heritage, Islamic or Political Iconoclasm).
Presented papers were discussed by Dr Sayed Askar Musawi. PhD, Anthropologist
of Afghanistan and Dr Omar Sharifi, PhD, Anthropology, Boston University.
second panel of the day discussed the Afghans’ Minds and Afghans’ Bodies. The papers presented in the second panel were
by Dr Farid Tookhy, PhD, Political science, Georgetown University (From State-Building,
Secularism and Contestation: Afghanistan Under Amanullah and Beyond) and MS Maryam Hannun, PhD candidate, Islamic
studies, Georgetown University (Tracing the Role of Afghan Women in the Wake of
Independence). The discussant in this panel was Faiz Ahmed, PhD, History, Brown
the third panel of the day, one local scholar from Ghor province of Afghanistan
and one Female University student from Herat city of Afghanistan presented
their papers. Mr. Nabi Saqee from Ghor university presented the paper (The
importance of local and indigenous research) this paper was the first research
paper from A local researcher from Ghor province of Afghanistan and his paper
was discussed by Dr Mahiuddin Mahdi, PhD, Literary critic, Afghanistan. The second
presenter was MS Maryam Jami, a University student from Herat University and
her paper was titled as Independent Afghanistan in the Path of History:
Rethinking Afghanistan’s Independence in Post-1919 Context. Her paper was
discussed by Dr Jawanshir Rasekh, PhD, South Asia Studies, from the University
Keynote Address was given by Dr Margaret Mills Professor Emerita (The Ohio
State University) and her talk was given the title of The Traditional and the
National: Some Documentary History and Problematic.
second and afternoon session of the first day was titled as ‘Enduring
Economics, Culture, and Relations: Afghanistan Inside-Out.
The first panel of the second session ((Un)-Producing in Afghanistan’s Economy, and Politics,) had three presenters. The first paper was presented by Mr. Kambaiz Rafi, MPhil/PhD. Candidate, University College London with the title of Production during Times of Instability and his paper was discussed by Kaweh Kerami, PhD. Candidate. SOAS-London. The second paper was presented by Mr. Vibhav Pradhan, MPhil candidate from South Asian University and his paper was titled as War and Economy Nexus: Afghanistan’s Perpetual Opium Trade and his paper was discussed by Mr. Kambaiz Rafi. The third presenter of the panel was Dr Nazif M. Shahrani, PhD., Anthropology, Indiana University Bloomington and the title of his paper was: Afghanistan’s Century of Independence Marred by Dependence, More Dependence and Self-Deceptions and the disciplinary discussant for this paper was Dipali Mukhopadhyay, PhD., Political Science from Columbia University.
papers presented in the second panel of the second session discussed
Afghanistan in South Asia’s Political Imagination. Mr. Raghav Sharma, PhD.,
Political Science, O.P Jindal Global University was the first presenter of the
panel and his paper was titled as Deciphering India’s North-West Engagement.
His paper was discussed by Ellinor Zeino, PhD, Political Science from the
University of Hamburg. The second
presenter of the panel was Dr Alka, PhD., Center for Inner Asian Studies,
School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, her paper was
about India’s Soft Power: Case of Indo-Afghan Development Partnership
disciplinary discussant for this paper was Sharif Hozoori, PhD. Candidate.
Center for International Politics, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
third presenter was from china, Mr. Bao Deleng, PhD. Candidate, School of
Foreign Languages, Department of Asian and African Languages and Literatures,
Peking University. He presented his paper (Translation, Memoirs and Collecting
in and out of Afghanistan Since 1963: A Study on Writings of a Chinese
Diplomat) and it was discussed by Dr Omar Sharifi.
The first day of the conference was concluded with a dinner reception from ACKU.
second day of the Afghanistan studies conference was held on the 18th, August
second day of the conference (‘Sovereignty, Peace Process, and Afghanistan’s
Foreign Relations’) started with the first panel discussing governing new Afghanistan.
The first paper was presented by Dipali Mukhopadhyay, PhD. Political Science,
Columbia University with the title of State-Building in the Shadow of
Counterterrorism: The Palace Politics of ‘Precarious Sovereignty. Dr
Mukhopadhyay’s paper was discussed by Arian Sharifi, PhD. Political Science,
Tufts University. The second paper of the panel was presented by an Australian
scholar William Maley, PhD. Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy from the
Australian National University. Dr Maley’s paper was titled Shared Sovereignty:
Some Lessons from and for Afghanistan. The paper was discussed by Dr Nazif M.
second panel of the day was about Locating war and peace in Afghanistan. Three
distinguished scholars presented their research papers in the panel.
first presenter of the panel was Mr. Arian Sharifi, a PhD degree holder in
Political Science from Tufts University and his paper was about Explaining the
Strategic Choice of Violence in Islamist Groups: A Social Movement Theory
Approach. Mr. Sharifi’s paper was discussed by Dr Omar Sadr. The second paper
was presented by MS. Farkhondeh Akbari, PhD. Candidate. Asia Pacific College of
Diplomacy, Australian National University. The paper was titled as Peace
Settlements: Lessons from Cambodia for Afghanistan and it was discussed by Dr
Sayed Parto, PhD. Human Geography, University of Waterloo. The third paper of
the panel was about democratization in Afghanistan and it was presented by Mr.
Wahid Watanyar, PhD. Candidate. Political Science, University of Heidelberg.
Mr. Watanyar’s paper was discussed by Ahmadiullah Archiwal, Political Science
from Rutgers University, New Jersey.
The third panel’s topic was Afghanistan’s developing foreign relations. The first presented of the panel was Mr Wahidullah Qaderi a law and political science student from Takhar University and his paper was about Amani’s foreign politics and the paper was discussed by Mr. Amir Ramin.
second presenter of the panel was Nasir Ahmad Taraki, MPhil, Defense &
Strategic Studies from University of Pune. His paper was about Afghanistan in
transformation decade 2014-2024 and its role in the Asian Century: A
post-American Scenario and the disciplinary discussant for this paper was Mr.
third panel was followed by Afghanistan book lecture and the lecture was given
by Mr. Farukh Hussain, an independent scholar from London, UK and author of the
book Afghanistan in the age of empires. This book has a primary focus on the
struggle for power of Shah Shuja Ul Mulk paving the way for the first Afghan
war. The book charts the rise and fall of Durrani rule in Afghanistan and what
is now Pakistan.
fourth and last session of the conference started with the panel discussion
about Reading India-Afghanistan in the Past and Present.
first presenter of the panel was Mr. Mohammad Reyaz, a PhD scholar of
International Studies from Jamia Millia Islamia and his paper was titled as
Afghans in Indian Films: From Kabuliwala to Kesari. Mr. Reyaz’s paper was
discussed by Sahraa Karimi, PhD, Film and Television Faculty, Fine Arts
University, Bratislava, Slovakia and director of Afghan film. The second paper
was from Mr. Gowhar Farooq, PhD. Candidate. Mass Communication from Jamia
Millia Islamia University. This paper was about Connecting with Homeland: Media
Consumption of Afghan Diaspora in India. The paper was discussed by Dr.
Victoria Fontan from the American University of Afghanistan. The last paper of the panel was presented by
Furquan Ameen an Independent Scholar, Special Correspondent from The
Telegraph-India. The paper was titled as Afghanistan in Indian Press: A Case
Study of a Leading English Daily and it was discussed by Abdullah Azada
Khenjani, Editor-in-Chief, 1 Television Network, Afghanistan.
last panel of the conference was about local Afghans ethnographies, policy
presenters presented their papers in the panel. The first presenter was MS.
Marzia Azizi a Political Science and Public Administration student from the
American University of Afghanistan and her paper was about Afghan Women
Coalitions in the Parliament. Her paper was discussed by Marya Hannun, PhD.
Candidate. Islamic Studies from Georgetown University. The last presenter of
the Afghanistan studies conference was Mr. Sayed Baqir Hussaini, Journalism
lecturer from Kabul University. Mr. Hussaini presented a very interesting paper
to the audience titled as, from masculinity to escape: A study of factors of
escape from home for the purpose of marriage. His paper was discussed by
Humaira Qadery, PhD., Persian Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University.
concluding remarks of the program was given by Dr. Dipali Mukhopadhyay, PhD.,
Political Science from Columbia University.
two-day conference on Afghanistan studies ended with a dinner reception by the
American Institute of Afghanistan studies.
AIAS and National center for dialogue and progress jointly arranged a Kabul
Talks program at the Rana University on the 4th of July, 2019.
The program was started with the welcoming remarks by the vice-chancellor of Rana University Mr Mustafa Saedi. Mr Saedi briefly discussed the role of public administration in government system and good governance and its importance in achieving a substantial peace.
The guest speaker for the program was Dr Ghulam Sakhi Mohammady, a PhD in public administration. Dr Mohammady began with a brief introduction of Public administration and its importance in having good governance in a country. Dr Mohammady introduced public administration as the bridge between the public and government and the executive part of the government in which the public can take part in forming the government and its policies. Lack of public participation in forming the government through public administration is the main reason for conflict in a country.
discussed the importance of public administration in decreasing the conflict in
a government system especially government system of Afghanistan.
The major roles public
administration can play in decreasing the conflict in a government system
discussed by Dr. Mohammady were:
Developing public policy
through public participation
Political participation of
public through public administration in order to achieve public interests.
government system through public participation in administration of government
Governance is a
qualitative phenomenon which emphasizes on transparency, providing services to
the public through a good administration. A centralized governance system can
never provide the mentioned services to the public and it leads to a
conflict in a system in a country, only a decentralized government system with
public participation through public administration in it can lead to a
At the end of the session, Dr Mohammady took a few questions from the audience.
AIAS hosted the pre-orientation meeting for the third Afg-Pak partnership summit on the 29th of November, 2018.
An introduction and overview of the program goals, procedures, and participants introduction, as well as an Introduction of the American Institute of Afghanistan studies and Hollings center, was given to the participants by the AIAS director Dr. Rohullah Amin at the beginning of the meeting.
Dr. Amin gave an overview on Afghanistan and Pakistan relations, barriers, opportunities to overcome these barriers and the way this dialogue can be an initiative in finding ways to solve the issues and to overcome the barriers between two countries.
During the introduction, Dr. Amin briefly discussed the agenda of the summit among the participants, shared the experiences of the two summits between two countries that gave an idea to the participants about how these summits are arranged and how these summits have opened ways for creating relations between the participants of the summits which is one of the main aims of these programs.
Meanwhile, participants were asked to briefly introduce themselves and share their experiences of Pakistan or any similar events or programs that if they have attended.
The discussion in the first session started by discussions among the participants about the barriers to cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan, during the discussion various perspectives were shared by the participants. These perspectives from the participants varied regarding their experiences from Pakistan and according to that, participants pointed a number of the barriers that exist to cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan and shared their ideas on how these barriers can be overcome.
The barriers like Durand- line case, the perceive treat that Pakistan feels from the existence of India in Afghanistan, strategic barriers, Pakistan’s interference in internal issues of Afghanistan were discussed in details among the participants.
Besides discussing the barriers, participants mentioned the fact that Pakistan is an important neighbor of Afghanistan and without building a friendly relations and cooperation between two countries, not only Afghanistan but Pakistan will not be able to create stable situation for its citizens, as it is a generally accepted fact that the conflicts between two countries during these years has affected both countries economically and politically.
Participants emphasized the role of civil society, media, cultural activities, and economic activities on overcoming these barriers. The similarities and what both countries have in common can be one of the major points in removing the barriers.
In the second session of the meeting, participants discussed the possible opportunities to overcome the barriers that exist between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Two of the participants gave presentations about the opportunities of cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan and shared their experiences with other participants.
Mr. Samsor discussed the importance of educational programs in creating a cooperation between two countries and suggested that educational exchange programs, conferences for the students and youth, Forums, and seminars are significant in creating relations among the younger generation of the countries. Also, he suggested the involvement of countries like China and India in these programs can be a good initiative for a better tomorrow.
Ms. Rada Akbar, who recently attended an event in Pakistan shared her experience of who these events and programs can be useful for bringing both countries together.
Participants who are involved in private sector activities, agreed on the point that both countries and their people can be very helpful for each other and listed the economic activities like having economical agreements, creating Joint economical markets of both countries and focusing on economical part as a significant reason to increase the level of cooperation between two countries, as opportunities to cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Role of Media in conflict management and in influencing the mindset and perspectives of the people in both countries by giving them the idea that having cooperation between both countries will be beneficial for all will be a great opportunity that can be used in both countries.
At the end of the second session of the meeting, participants were asked to break into small groups to discuss the recommendations and outcomes from the meeting. Participants were divided into three groups.
In the third session of the meeting, all groups presented their recommendations to the participants. Participants were divided into three groups sharing their recommendations in the aspects of the strategic, security, political, cultural, and economic cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some of the recommendations from the groups can be listed as below:
Cooperation between the two governments in all aspects.
Discussing the strategies of both countries for each other in the summit.
Having a joint mechanism for investigating the blames from both countries
Abstaining from any action that would provoke any of the two countries to take an action against each other.
Creating a visa-free system for the citizens of the two countries.
Documenting all the discussions, summits, and forums that take place about the cooperations of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Increasing the numbers of the meetings, contacts, and communications among the political and groups form the civil societies of both countries.
Having cultural exchange programs like exhibitions, festivals, sports
Having a joint Afg-Pak chamber of commerce
Transboundary water dialogue between two countries
Taking the initiative of the Sister cities concept between Afghanistan and Pakistan
An increase in relations of the media of both countries
Making Pakistan believe that India cannot use for Afghanistan against Pakistan.
AIAS arranged a talk for Dr. Nazif Shahrani on October 3, 2018. Dr. Shahrani presented his recent research paper on Al-Biruni the greatest scholar of his era, his presentation was titled as:
Al Beruni’s Anthropology in the Fi Tahqiq Malil-Hind in Three Settings: An Assessment
Al Beruni’s Fi Tahqiq malil Hind (dating to 1030 AD) is described in at least one recent (2016) book title as The Birth of Indology as an Islamic Science. This groundbreaking work of the Muslim polymath is also the much earlier precursor to the birth of modern discipline of anthropology, sometimes called the “bastard child” of Western colonialism. In this presentation Dr. Shahrani attempted to assess the significance of Al-Beruni’s rendition of Hindu India in three important settings:
1) the novelty of its production one thousand years ago, in the age of “Empires of Faith”, in this case, the Ghaznavid Muslim empire; it was the era of dominance by the empires of religion and this book was produced under those circumstances. Besides this, the number of Al-Beruni’s books was 114, told by himself to a friend of him, a remarkable number of books ever written by a scholar. Meanwhile, Al-Biruni had researched and wrote in physics, mathematics, astronomy, and natural sciences. 2) its discovery, study and use during the Western colonial “Empires of Conquest”, especially by the nineteenth century scholars supported by the British Raj; and 3) the freshness of its conceptual, methodological and analytical rigor and relevance to modern social sciences in general and post-colonial native Muslim anthropology in particular within the era of the “Empires by Invitation/Empires of “Trust.” Al-Biruni has distinguished himself as a historian, chronologist, and linguist.