At a speed that seems to have shocked everyone, the Taliban have now taken Kabul and are in the process of forming a government. What comes next for the people of Afghanistan is an open question, but the unceremonious end of the US and NATO effort in the country has raised questions about the effectiveness and impact on the wider war against terrorism. Al Qaeda’s leadership and capability are not what they were before. Prison releases and a narrative of victory may once again blow a wind in jihadists sails to enhance the threat, and ultimately undermine the entire western effort in the country. But what is the likely threat going to be now, and how might the Taliban deal with this problem? How will regional countries approach a Taliban-demanded Afghanistan? While China and Pakistan have indicated to work with the Taliban, both countries demands dismantling sanctuaries of ETIM and TTP in Afghanistan. Will the Taliban oblige?
On the domestic front, do Taliban possess the administrative capacity to run the state affairs and manage day-to-day governance? So far, the Taliban have made right political noises. Have they genuinely moderated or is it an exhibition of political maturity without softening longstanding ideological positions on issues like women and minorities rights?
In order to address these and other questions, RSIS is delighted to host Ambassador Omar Samad, the former Afghan Ambassador to France and Canada (separately), as well as long-standing Ministry of Foreign Affairs official.
Ambassador Omar Samad is a non-resident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council South Asia Center in Washington D.C., dealing with South and Central Asia, U.S.-Afghanistan, geopolitical and reconciliation issues. He is currently advising Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation on peace diplomacy and reconciliation strategy through a UNDP peacebuilding program.
Ambassador Samad resigned as Afghan Ambassador-designate to Belgium and the EU in April 2016. Prior, from December 2014 to January 2016, he worked as Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy to the Chief Executive of Afghanistan in Kabul. Previously, he was Senior Central Asia Fellow at New America Foundation (2013-2014) and Senior Afghan Expert at the United States Institute of Peace (2012-2013).
He was Afghan Ambassador to France (2009-2011) and to Canada (2004-2009), after serving as the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2001-2004). He taught an Honors Seminar on “Radicalism Within Islam, Drivers and Policy Options” at the University of Maryland in 2017.
He earned a Master’s Degree in International Relations from The Fletcher School in 2006. He earned a B.A. in Communications from the American University in Washington, D.C. in 1991. He writes and speaks extensively on Afghanistan and regional issues and is a regular think-tank and media contributor and commentator.