The Center for Strategic and Regional Studies (CSRS) organized a one-day international seminar on The Future of Relations between Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries in Kabul on Sunday, 19 June 2022.
CSRS initiated the joint seminar in collaboration with the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) Peshawar and researchers from Pakistan and Iran, and in coordination with the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Several cabinet members and senior officials of the Islamic Emirate, including Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, Acting Deputy Foreign Minister; Haji Nooruddin Azizi, Acting Minister of Commerce and Industries; Dr. Qalandar Ibad, Acting Minister of Health; and Qari Mahmood Shah, Advisor to the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation attended and addressed the seminar. In addition, over 100 academics, scholars and researchers from Afghanistan and neighboring countries participated in the seminar and some presented their policy papers in various panels.
Welcoming the seminar, Dr. Shah Rukh Raufi, Director of CSRS, said: “Afghanistan needs good relations with its neighbors and Afghanistan’s future relations with its neighbors must be shaped in such a way that leaves no room for foreigners’ interference in the regional affairs.”
The chief guest of the seminar and Deputy Foreign Minister Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, highlighting the need for good and peaceful relations with Afghanistan’s neighbors, said: “We have liberated not only our country, but also protected the countries in the region from aggressors.” “If Iran, Pakistan or other neighboring countries have a peaceful life today, it is the result of the jihad and sacrifices of Afghans, therefore, the world should respect them,” Mr. Stanekzai added.
The Minister of Health Dr. Qalandar Ibad said that the Islamic Emirate is committed to cooperation and coordination with all neighboring countries and at the same time expects them to extend necessary cooperation and assistance to Afghanistan.
Dr. Mohammad Iqbal Khalil, Director of IRS, emphasized the deep sympathy of the people of Pakistan towards Afghans. Referring to the poem of Allama Iqbal, he said: “Afghanistan is the heart of Asia and if it is peaceful, the whole region will be comfortable with it.” Addressing the seminar, he said: “Your problems are our problems and we call on the international community to release the frozen assets of Afghanistan.”
In addition, Qari Mahmood Shah, Advisor to the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, scholar and public figure Ustad Mohammad Zaman Muzammil, university professor and scholar Dr. Mohammad Muzammil Islami, and religious figure Mawlawi Shahzada Shahid also emphasized positive relations with neighboring countries and addressing the existing problems and challenges jointly.
Following the inaugural session, the seminar continued in five parallel working sessions to discuss economic and trade cooperation, cultural and social relations, education, health, and refugees’ issues between Afghanistan and neighboring countries in details. Panel members previously specified also presented their papers in these panels.
Overall, the seminar participants emphasized the need for positive relations between Afghanistan and neighboring countries and the elimination of existing problems and mistrust between them for a stable region. The participants noted that these relations must be shaped in a way that takes into account and respects Afghanistan’s sovereignty, as well as they should be based on mutual respect and shared interests. The seminar participants also called on the neighboring countries to make necessary contributions to assisting the people of Afghanistan in the current critical situation.
CSRS will publish the detailed findings of these discussions online and will communicate the recommendations to relevant policymakers.