November 12, 2018

Dr. Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan
Dr. Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi, Afghanistan Minister of Finance and Chief Adviser for President Ghani in Infrastructure, Human Capital, and Technology
Moderated by LTG (Retd.) David W. Barno, Visiting Professor of Strategic Studies and Senior Fellow at the Phillip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies

The Strategic Studies Speaker Series hosted a conversation with the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, via video conference to discuss the challenges of coalition-Afghan security cooperation and the future of the partnership.

Professor David W. Barno began with words of gratitude to commemorate Veterans Day and honor those who served in Afghanistan. Dean Vali Nasr then introduced President Ghani by highlighting his academic and professional background and several important achievements of his administration.

President Ghani discussed Afghanistan’s key challenges and issues on the global stage. He celebrated the growing confidence of Afghan citizens, who, emboldened by their relatively new democratic system, are becoming more vocal about their needs and expectations of the government. He said it is a positive sign that in recent elections, more than four million Afghans voted, risking their lives to act for the greater good.

Ghani spoke about the change in national security and how Afghanistan has taken measures to fill the gap in military presence since U.S. troops handed peacekeeping responsibilities to Afghan forces. He talked about measures Afghanistan has taken to become a more secure state, pointing to its foreign policy and its focus on developing stronger relationships with the U.S. and key allies within NATO. Additionally, he explained his South Asia strategy and Afghanistan’s steps to promoting peace in the region.  

The floor opened up to the audience for a Q&A session with guests spanning from current students to independent Afghani journalists based in the U.S.   

Next, Minister of Finance Mohammad Qayoumi took the stage to share more details on the critical issues mentioned in President Ghani’s speech. Additionally, Qayoumi addressed Afghanistan’s shift toward self-reliance economically and the country’s robust budget plan that was well received by the international community.

Questions from the audience covered topics including the energy sector and security issues concerning the Taliban.

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