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Afghanistan: What Comes Next?

Afghanistan: What Comes Next?


The US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent Taliban takeover will have a global impact. It seems likely to reshape regional politics, lead to questions about American credibility, and create a humanitarian crisis. What will Afghanistan look like with no American presence? How will the Taliban govern? How will other countries in the region deal with the collapse of the Afghan government?

This panel invites several distinguished scholars and policymakers to discuss how developments in Afghanistan will influence central Asia, the United States, and the world in future months.


Alyssa Ayres (Dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University)

Speakers and Presentation Titles:

Benjamin Hopkins (Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies): What’s next from the South/Central Asian Perspective?

Marlene Laruelle (Director of the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies): What’s next from the Russian Perspective?

Ambassador Ronald Neumann (President of The American Academy of Diplomacy and former ambassador to Afghanistan): What’s next for US policy?

Nilofar Sakhi (Nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center): What’s next from a humanitarian perspective?


This webinar is sponsored by the George Washington University Sigur Center for Asian Studies, the Institute for Middle East Studies, and the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies.

The webinar begins at 4pm EDT on Thursday, August 26th. Check your local time by selecting the event date and your time zone. Registered guests will receive an email with instructions for joining the webinar prior to the event. Registration closes at 4pm EDT on August 25th, 24 hours before the event begins. Media inquiries must be sent to in advance. If you need specific accommodations, please contact with at least 3 business days’ notice.

This event is on the record, open to the public, and will be recorded. Questions can be sent in advance to with the subject “Afghanistan: What Comes Next?”


  • Alyssa Ayers is Dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. Ayres is a foreign policy practitioner and award-winning author with senior experience in the government, nonprofit, and private sectors. From 2013 to 2021, she was senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), where she remains an adjunct senior fellow. Her work focuses primarily on India’s role in the world and on U.S. relations with South Asia in the larger Indo-Pacific. Her book about India’s rise on the world stage, Our Time Has Come: How India is Making Its Place in the World, was published in 2018. Ayres is also interested in the emergence of subnational engagement in foreign policy, particularly the growth of international city networks, and her current book project (working title, Bright Lights, Biggest Cities: The Urban Challenge to India’s Future, under contract with Oxford University Press) examines India’s urban transformation and its international implications. From 2010 to 2013, Ayres served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia. She received an AB from Harvard College and an MA and PhD from the University of Chicago. @AyresAlyssa

  • Benjamin D. Hopkins is Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies. Hopkins is a historian of modern South Asia, specializing in the history of Afghanistan and British imperialism on the Indian subcontinent. He has authored, co-authored, and co-edited numerous books on the region. Hopkins has received fellowships from the Council on Foreign Relations, the National University of Singapore, the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, and the Wilson Center in DC. Writing for the public, he has been featured in The New York Times, The National Interest, and the BBC. Hopkins holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge and BSc from the London School of Economics. @GWUSigurCenter)

  • Marlene Laruelle is the Director of the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at The George Washington University. She is also the Director of the Illiberalism Studies Program and the Central Asia Program. She is a Research Professor of International Affairs at GWU. She works on the rise of populist and illiberal movements in post-Soviet Eurasia, Europe and the US. Trained in political philosophy, she explores how nationalism and conservative values are becoming mainstream in different cultural contexts. She focuses on Russia's ideological landscape and its outreach abroad. She has been also working on Central Asia's nationhood and regional environment, as well as on Russia's Arctic policy. She has been the Principal Investigator of several grants from the US State Department, the Defense Department, the National Science Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Henry Luce Foundation, etc. @IERES_GWU

  • Ambassador Ronald E. Neumann served three times as Ambassador; to Algeria, Bahrain and finally to Afghanistan from July 2005 to April 2007. Before Afghanistan, Mr. Neumann, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, served in Baghdad from February 2004 with the Coalition Provisional Authority and then as Embassy Baghdad’s liaison with the Multinational Command, where he was deeply involved in coordinating the political part of military actions. Ambassador Neumann is the author of a memoir, Three Embassies, Four Wars: a personal memoir (2017) and The Other War: Winning and Losing in Afghanistan (Potomac Press, 2009), a book on his time in Afghanistan. He has returned to Afghanistan repeatedly and is the author of a number of monographs, articles, and editorials. Ambassador Neumann is on the Advisory Board of a non-profit girls’ school in Afghanistan, the School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA) and the Advisory Board of Spirit of America. He is on the board of the Middle East Policy Council and the Advisory Council of the World Affairs Councils of America. He earned a B.A. in history and an M.A. in political science from the University of California at Riverside and is a graduate of the National War College.

  • Nilofar Sakhi is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center and the director of policy and diplomacy at McColm & Company. She is also a professorial lecturer at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. She was formerly a visiting fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy and Columbia University and was a fellow at Asia Society and the International Center for Tolerance Education. Sakhi is a scholar and policy practitioner who has written extensively on various aspects of transitional security, human security, and peacemaking and peacebuilding processes and recently released the book Human Security and Agency: Reframing Productive Power in Afghanistan. She has been involved in assisting peace and counter-insurgency policy formulation and has been involved in the Afghan peace processes since 2010; she remains a regular commentator in media and writer on analyzing the challenges and prospects of peace processes. Sakhi holds a PhD in international conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University, a master’s degree in international public policy from Johns Hopkins University, and a master’s degree in conflict transformation and peacebuilding from Eastern Mennonite University.