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About the Program
An Afghan Perspective From Those Who Escaped After the US Withdrawal…and Those Left Behind
For twenty years, the US provided funds and support to educate and train young Afghans to bring hope and advancement to Afghanistan in matters of peace, security, and conflict resolution; education and health care; human rights and women’s rights; and to further an emerging civil society under rule of law. This came to a crashing halt when the Taliban – claiming they were “taking back” their country – seized all of Afghanistan and reimposed a rigid, authoritarian rule that undermined all these efforts.
Hopes of a more enlightened future for Afghanistan are not lost, however. Thousands of young Afghan refugees – all of whom came of age during those two hopeful decades -- remain committed to their country. They are eager to share their perspectives on the progress that was made under American oversight, what the immediate future might hold for them, and what is happening to their families, friends and colleagues left behind.
The Indiana Council on World Affairs presents two separate programs featuring young Afghan refugees now residing in the US, Canada, and Ukraine. They will share their first-hand accounts of life in Afghanistan, their harrowing escapes, and reflections on the future of their country.
All the panelists are graduates of either the American University of Afghanistan or the American University of Central Asia. Each is now working to restart a career in a new country while attempting to help family members still in Afghanistan to find some way to leave the poverty-stricken country as the population faces hunger and cold this winter under a strict and capricious Taliban rule.
About the Panelists
Qais Faqiri, a broadcaster for Voice of America, was serving as Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of Kabul when the Taliban entered the city and barely escaped with his life.
Zahid Jalali, a diplomat, was responsible for coordinating matters pertaining to peace affairs in the office of the Deputy Foreign Minister.
Henna Shaiq, a journalist who worked with the Afghan National Security Department as a media specialist, assisted with the evacuation of the more than 1000 AUAF alumni.
About the Moderator
Dr. Kenneth Holland, former senior civilian adviser to the NATO mission in Afghanistan and President Emeritus of the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) in Kabul, will moderate this discussion with three panelists who describe their personal experiences studying and working in Afghanistan prior to the US withdrawal and reflect on the country’s future under Taliban rule.