The Atlantic Council will host an interactive discussion on recent developments in Afghanistan with Ambassador to the United States H.E. Roya Rahmani and NPR’s National Security Correspondent Greg Myre. The discussion will include insights and on-the-ground analysis of the fourth presidential election and its relevance to the peace process.

On September 28, 2019, Afghanistan went to the polls with the lowest voter turnout since 2001. With a recent uptick in violence and a setback in peace talks with the United States, Kabul continues to face uncertain times. Ambassador Rahmani will address the successes of the election, the Afghan people’s resolve for democracy, the importance of continuing to institute faith in democratic institutions in Afghanistan, and the incoming leadership’s mandate, including negotiating peace with the Taliban.

Event Recap

On Wednesday, October 16thAmbassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United States H.E. Roya Rahmani provided insights and on-the-ground analysis of Afghanistan’s fourth presidential election and its relevance to the peace process with NPR’s National Security Correspondent Greg Myer. The South Asia Center in collaboration with the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan addressed the biggest challenges leading up to the elections, the election process, and the geopolitical implications of the preliminary results scheduled to be announced in the coming days.

The South Asia Center’s Assistant Director Fatima Salman led the event with introductions, followed by Ambassador Rahmani’s introductory remarks, which highlighted the bravery of Afghans and their resolve for democracy. Ambassador Rahmani discussed inclusion and participation within an ever-evolving democratic framework as the key for Afghanistan in the country’s ongoing efforts to defeat radical ideologies. In a detailed recollection, the Ambassador described the efforts made by the Afghan Security Forces to monitor and secure polling locations, in which “70,000 security personnel were dispatched all over the country to ensure the safety” of Afghan voters.

NPR’s National Security Correspondent Greg Myer joined Ambassador Rahmani for a short discussion. Asked about updates on the election results, the Ambassador explained that delays in tallying the votes were necessary due to technical issues, and that the possibility of a runoff election was contingent upon updates from the independent Election Commission. The Ambassador referred to the US-Afghan relationship as a strong partnership and urged the American public and officials to celebrate and continue to help protect what Americans have helped build – the Afghan democratic institutions and processes. 

The event concluded with a short Q&A session from the audience. When asked about women’s role and participation in the most recent elections, the Ambassador remained optimistic, stating that societal mindsets are slowly changing. Much like the rest of the Afghan democratic mission or project, Americans must be patient to taste the real fruits of their labor.