On September 23, 2021, UANI hosted a virtual event, featuring leading global security experts, to discuss the implications of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan for the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In May 2021, a U.N. Security Council report confirmed that the Taliban had not severed ties with al-Qaeda, exacerbating concerns that Afghanistan would once again become a safe haven for extremist groups after the U.S. withdrawal. American intelligence and military analysts have expressed concern over maintaining counterterrorism capabilities absent a presence in Afghanistan and with regional adversaries, such as Iran, seeking to exploit any resulting political and security vacuums.
On July 7, 2021, a high-level Taliban political committee met with Iran’s foreign minister at the time, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Tehran. The meeting highlighted the Iranian regime’s willingness to cooperate with a former foe to bolster its interests in the region. There is cautious optimism in Tehran that an alliance of expediency can be maintained as the Taliban government finds its footing. Both sides have an interest in avoiding conflict and partnering on trade issues to weather international isolation and sanctions. However, there are also fears that the Taliban will eventually resume its brutal mistreatment of the Afghan Shia population and that refugees, drug crime, and terrorism will again spill over Iran’s Afghan border.
This event helped process the complexities of the situation in Afghanistan, in particular its implications for U.S. counterterrorism efforts, Iran’s role in the region, and prospects for relations between Washington and Tehran.
-Frances F. Townsend, former U.S. homeland security advisor
-Norman Roule, UANI senior advisor and former U.S. national intelligence manager for Iran at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence
-Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler, former coordinator of the ISIL, Al-Qaida and Taliban Monitoring Team at the U.N. Security Council and senior director of the Counter Extremism Project
-Radek Sikorski, member of the European Parliament (European People’s Party) and chair of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with the U.S.
Moderated by: Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, UANI CEO and former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. for management and reform
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