When American forces withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014, what role will Afghanistan's neighbors play in ensuring peace and stability in the country? The United States Institute of Peace held a panel discussion focusing on the importance of Pakistan, Iran and the bordering Central Asian Republics in guaranteeing regional security.
Alireza Nader argued that Iran's policies towards Afghanistan is a balancing act and can sometimes be contradictory. Iran views its policy in Afghanistan as an extension of it's rivalry with the U.S., he said, but they also have traditionally been against Taliban control, since the Taliban is vehemently anti-Shia, while Iran is dominated by Shia muslims.
Pakistan also plays a mixed role in the stabilization of Afghanistan, due to a long-term rivalry with that country and with neighboring India, the panelists said. Pakistan also has a hard time protecting their borders, which allows militants to move freely between countries.
The panel also emphasized the complexity of the Afghan people and it's various tribes and factions in complicating relations with its neighbors.
Participants include: Abubakar Siddique, Senior News Correspondent Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh, Associate Researcher, Peace Research Institute Oslo; and Alireza Nader, Senior International Policy Analyst RAND Corporation. Moeed Yusuf, South Asia Adviser for USIP moderates the discussion.