Lecture focus: What’s next for Afghanistan and Pakistan?


After the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, President George W. Bush intervened against the terrorist group al-Qaida. The Taliban, which controlled much of Afghanistan, offered refuge to al-Qaida. Thus began America’s longest war.

President Barack Obama raised the number of American troops to almost 100,000 and committed to that level through 2011. U.S. withdrawals followed, leaving about 8,400 troops in place by the end of 2016. In May 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed.

Barriers remain to a settlement of the civil war in Afghanistan. For example, while Pakistan opposes the Pakistani Taliban fighting against it domestically, it has offered quiet support for the Afghan Taliban against the American-backed government in Kabul.

Alam Payind, director of the Middle East Studies Center at The Ohio State University, will discuss the relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan on Friday, March 31, as part of the annual Great Decisions series.

Payind is also a professor in the International Studies Program and the Near Eastern Languages and Cultures Department. He completed his doctorate at Indiana University in political science and higher education.

Born and raised in Afghanistan, Payind served in the Afghan government as the director general of cultural and foreign relations. He was a professor at Kabul University before the Soviet invasion in 1979 forced him to seek refuge in the United States.

He is a faculty member at Kabul University and a consultant to the Afghan government. Since Sept. 11, 2001, he has visited the country 13 times.

He consults with news agencies on Middle Eastern affairs and lectures. And in 2013 published “Inside Afghanistan 23 Years After the Soviet Withdrawal” in the Journal of Asian and African Studies.

Great Decisions discussions begin at noon in the Fellowship Hall of the William Street United Methodist Church, 28 W. William St.

Michael Houlahan, a retired foreign service officer of the Department of State, will end this year’s series on April 7 when he discusses “U.S. Foreign Policy and Petroleum.”


Staff report

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