EWI Hosts Virtual Roundtable on Security Repercussions of U.S Withdrawal from Afghanistan

News | July 29, 2020

On July 15, the EastWest Institute (EWI) hosted a virtual roundtable entitled “U.S. and Russian Perspectives on the U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan and Its Implications for Regional Security.”

Building on themes from EWI’s recently released report, Terrorism in Afghanistan: A Joint Threat Assessment, the roundtable brought together American and Russian policy and technical experts to exchange views on the many uncertainties and complexities surrounding the pending drawdown of American troops from Afghanistan and its likely ramifications for the stability and security of Afghanistan’s neighbors. 

As allegations of Russian bounties on U.S. soldiers have further aggravated bilateral tensions, and intensified violence in Afghanistan has cast doubts on the war-torn country’s prospects for peace, the roundtable provided a rare opportunity for candid dialogue on Russian and American concerns vis-à-vis ever-evolving security threats in Afghanistan and the prospects for continued bilateral cooperation in this arena.

Discussion focused on several possible outcomes of the U.S. troop withdrawal, including the resurgence of terrorist and militant actors in Afghanistan and increased Pakistan-India rivalry; the short- and long-term consequences for regional players, such as Pakistan, India and the Central Asian states; and the role of regional actors in ensuring the stability of Afghanistan following the United States’ departure. Participants also highlighted the obstacles facing the intra-Afghan peace talks and political reconciliation. 

EWI plans to host a second virtual roundtable later this summer focused on U.S.-Russia cooperation on economic development and connectivity in Afghanistan and the region.