At the start of a panel I moderated at the UNHCR Global Refugee Forum in Geneva in December 2023:
“I would ask our panel and our audience to keep an open mind, understanding that Afghanistan has been at war for more than 40 years, and perhaps reflect on the possibility that past policies and initiatives have failed to both bring lasting peace to Afghanistan, to the region and have failed to afford Afghans the opportunity to craft their own solutions toward lasting peace.
Perhaps the time has come to see what can be done differently, whether policy makers and governments can find a way to see Afghanistan’s 40 million people not as a problem to solve, but as the solution.”
As the US blocks a UN resolution calling for a truce in Gaza, we hear from a doctor in Gaza with Médecins Sans Frontières who calls the humanitarian situation ‘the catastrophe of the century’.
Joining Paul Henley to discuss all this and more are Kathy Gannon, former Pakistan and Afghanistan correspondent for the Associated Press and Steve Erlanger, chief diplomatic correspondent for the New York Times in Europe.
(Photo: A protester outside the UN headquarters in New York City, 8 December 2023 Credit: David Dee Delgado/Reuters)
Foundation for Defense of Democracies Event
Nearly two years after the disastrous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban regime has reconstituted its Islamic Emirate and returned to draconian policies that are in grave violation of fundamental human rights. While President Biden and the Taliban alike claim al-Qaeda is not active in Afghanistan, recent United Nations monitoring shows al-Qaeda leaders are embedded in key Afghan ministries, with the group running training camps, safe houses, and media operations across multiple Afghan provinces. Terror groups such as the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan enjoy free reign, while threats from the Islamic State persist.…READ MORE
My relationship with Kabul evolved over more than three decades when Afghanistan was my regular work commute from my home, first in Peshawar and then in Islamabad, nearly 500 kilometres to the east. As correspondent and then news director for the Associated Press in Pakistan and Afghanistan, I watched Kabul change, grow and accommodate the cultural, political and social pendulum swings from regime to regime as its people adapted to a succession of new realities, often imposed from outside, with little to no understanding of Afghans or Afghanistan.
The Kabul of 2021 following the Taliban’s return had a surreal feel about it. I had been in Kabul often when the Taliban last ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001. And in August, 2021, as I sat in a government office once again occupied by Taliban officials — most of them wearing the traditional turban and all wearing the bushy beard — I was struck by the tragic symmetry of Afghanistan’s history, one closely linked to mine.…READ MORE
A discussion with Kathy Gannon and Brian Stelter
On Tuesday, Nov. 15, 6 p.m ET, Shorenstein Center fellows Kathy Gannon and Brian Stelter will hold a one-hour discussion on the role of media in democracy. Should journalists publicly support and try to uphold democracies in a time of rising authoritarianism? Or is the impact of truthful reporting on a system of governance outside of the purview of a journalist’s role? What do truth and objectivity mean in today’s media ecosystem?
Come watch a spirited debate between two journalism professionals on these questions and more!…WATCH NOW