August 16, 2023

Afghanistan under the Taliban (Again)

Event Series: Free Speech at the Crossroads: International Dialogues

Showing the Afghanistan under the Taliban (Again) Video

Two years ago, the Taliban recaptured Kabul, the Afghan capital, in a final offensive to take back the country after the awkward and humiliating withdrawal of U.S. military forces from the region. Ever since, the international community, including several Muslim-majority countries, has severely condemned the de facto fundamentalist government over its sweeping and abusive restrictions on women’s rights and free speech, as well as its torture, unlawful detention, and extrajudicial killings of political opponents and journalists. Was the failed Western intervention in Afghanistan worthwhile? How should the West and other democracies now handle an oppressive theocracy that actively curtails human rights? Will mere sanctions and diplomatic measures prevail over time?

This event is co-sponsored by the Free Speech Project (Georgetown University) and the Future of the Humanities Project (Georgetown University and Blackfriars Hall and Campion Hall, Oxford).

Photo courtesy of Flickr user ResoluteSupportMedia


Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University and a global fellow of the Wilson Center. Highlights from his academic career include appointments as a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the first Distinguished Chair of Middle East and Islamic Studies at the U.S. Naval Academy. Ahmed dedicated more than three decades to the civil service of Pakistan.

Nipa Banerjee, senior fellow and adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa, served as a practitioner and policy analyst in international development for over 30 years. She worked in Canada’s embassy in Kabul, heading its aid program and tracking Canada’s reconstruction and stabilization interventions in Afghanistan. Banerjee’s research interests include foreign aid policies and reconstruction and development in post-conflict and conflict-affected countries, with a special focus on Afghanistan.

Dawn Chatty, emerita professor of anthropology and forced migration at the University of Oxford, is a social anthropologist whose ethnographic interests lie in the Middle East, particularly with nomadic pastoral tribes and young refugees. Her research interests include forced migration and development issues such as conservation-induced displacement, tribal resettlement, modern technology and social change, gender and development, and the impact of prolonged conflict on refugee young people.

Minlib Dallh is a research fellow for the Study of Love in Religion project at Regent’s Park College, Oxford. His research focuses on comparative mysticism in Islam and Christianity, with special interest in love-mysticism in Sufism and the contribution of women mystics in both faith traditions. In the Love in Religion project, he focuses on the mysticism of love in its medieval and modern forms. He is the author of A Sufi and a Friar: a Mystical Encounter of Two Men of God in the Abode of Islam (2017).

Michael Scott (moderator) is senior dean, fellow of Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, college adviser for postgraduate students, and a member of the Las Casas Institute. He also serves as senior adviser to the president of Georgetown University. Scott previously was the pro-vice-chancellor at De Montfort University and founding vice-chancellor of Wrexham Glyndwr University.

Sanford J. Ungar (moderator), president emeritus of Goucher College, is director of the Free Speech Project at Georgetown University, which documents challenges to free expression in American education, government, and civil society. Director of the Voice of America under President Bill Clinton, he was also dean of the American University School of Communication and is a former co-host of All Things Considered on NPR.