Due to their strong historical, cultural and religious ties, Afghanistan and Pakistan officially profess a close friendship with one another.

At the same time, with Islamabad fearing an Afghan rapprochement with India, and Kabul claiming that terrorist sanctuaries on Pakistani soil are prolonging the war in Afghanistan, do the neighbours view one another with certain levels of mistrust?

The panellists unpack the deep-rooted narratives held by the populations on either side of a 2,600km border. They will consider the influence of popular narratives on the countries’ policies and ask whether bilateral relations can be reshaped in a constructive and meaningful way.

Looking forward, will the Afghan government, driven by considerations for regional connectivity, become a partner with Pakistan? Can the new government of Imran Khan, who counts Pakistani Pashtuns as core supporters, move Pakistan and Afghanistan beyond their present cold friendship?

Or, with the rise of political populism globally, are the roots of negative narratives becoming further entrenched among the social-media savvy Afghan and Pakistani populations?

Participants

Suddaf Chaudry, Investigative Journalist and Documentary Producer

Amil Khan, Associate Fellow, Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House

Sana Safi, Journalist and Presenter, BBC Afghanistan Service

Chair: Hameed Hakimi, Research Associate, Asia-Pacific Programme and Europe Programme, Chatham House