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Lessons from Afghanistan: international conference hosted by LUCIR, ISGA and GTGC

Friday 3 December 2021

A comprehensive exchange about military and political intervention in the region

After two decades of post-9/11 Western and international engagement in Afghanistan, foreign military troops withdrew in August 2021 and left behind many Afghans who are now facing an uncertain future under the re-installed Taliban regime. This moment calls for a reflection on what the lessons from Afghanistan mean for the future of the theory and policy practice of core issues related to war, peace and justice.

During this one-day conference, we are bringing together scholars, civil society representatives, and policy makers to contribute to a comprehensive exchange about military and political intervention in the region, from the perspectives of Afghanistan and its neighbor countries, and from Europe. Contributions critically discuss the impact of foreign interventions on regional security, human rights, and statebuilding, and the past and future of European approaches to security abroad.

The conference is organized jointly by LUCIR (Leiden University’s Centre for International Relations), ISGA (Institute of Security and Global Affairs) and GTGC (Global Transformations and Global Challenges Initiative), all at Leiden University, The Netherlands.

Join us

All who are interested are welcome. Sign up here and you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meetings:


Preliminary programme Friday 3 December 2021

8:45: Opening Remarks: Joachim Koops

Afghanistan: intervention

9:00-10:30 Regional Perspectives on International Interventions and Security
Chair: Beatrix Futak-Campbell, Leiden University

  • Zahid Shahab Ahmed, Deakin University, Melbourne
    Geopolitical dynamics concerning Afghanistan and the role of Pakistan
  • Salma Malik, Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU), Islamabad
    China’s interest in future Afghanistan and its implications
  • Rajeshwari Krishnamurthy, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), Delhi
    Afghanistan: The cost of haste and precedent
  • Muge Kinacioglu, Leiden University
    Mission Accomplished? NATO intervention and Turkey in Afghanistan
Afghanistan: protection of civilians

11:00-12:30 Human Rights and Protection of Civilians
Chair: Matthew Hoye, Leiden University

  • Christian Jorgensen, Samantha Shyam, and Vinita Banthia, American Red Cross‐National Headquarters, Washington DC
    The Post-Bellum Big Stick: How recognition of the Taliban may provide greater protections to civilians and impel greater adherence to international laws and norms
  • Tom Buitelaar, Leiden University
    War crimes in Afghanistan: Between impunity and co-optation
  • Lema Salah, Radboud University, Nijmegen
    Constructing “Gender” in Gender Discourses: How the Women, Peace and Security agenda was implemented in Afghanistan during 20 years of international engagement 
  • Kaleigh Heard, Kristin Thue, and Theodora Ogden, RAND Europe, Cambridge
    Safe Haven or Death Sentence? Social media as a double-edged sword for women’s rights activists in the Taliban’s Afghanistan
  • Matthew Hoye, Leiden University
    The new politics of economic sanctions
Afghanistan: state building

13:30-15:00 External Intervention and Statebuilding
Chair: Corinna Jentzsch, Leiden University

  • Geoffrey Swenson, City, University of London
    Law and Disorder: Promoting the rule of law in Afghanistan after the surge
  • Cristina Fontanelli, University of Genoa
    Organisational Learning in Afghanistan: The case of the female engagement teams
  • Farooq Yousaf, SwissPeace, Basel, and Moheb Jabarkhail, CIPE/George Mason University, Fairfax VA
    The “Perceptions” and “Realities” of Peace and Justice: Lessons from Afghanistan’s post-9/11 (Western) peacebuilding project
  • Karim Elkady, Tufts University, Boston MA
    What Went Wrong in Afghanistan?
The EU and Afghanistan

15:30-16:30 Implications for European Security and EU Approaches
Chair: Joachim Koops, Leiden University

  • Orzala Nemat, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London
  • Danny Pronk, Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations, The Hague
    Saigon Syndrome: An intelligence post-mortem of Afghanistan’s collapse in 2021
  • Alexander Borum, European Union Capacity Building Mission in Somalia (EUCAP), Mogadishu
    Things to Come: Lessons for Somalia from the fall of Afghanistan

16:30-17:15 Keynote: ‘Afghanistan: Human rights, democracy, stability and the future of European international cooperation in Euro-Asia’
Nader Nadery, former member of the Peace Negotiation Team for the Afghanistan Peace Process in Doha and former chairman of the independent Civil Service Commission of Afghanistan
Preamble: Rosa Stienstra, ‘Hart voor Afghanistan’

Organising committee

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact the organising committee:

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