Friday 17 June - 0915-0940

Session Report

The former president of Afghanistan discussed how his country has dealt with the challenges of conflict that transcends borders. He reflected on his time in office, and remarked that while he would not have done many things differently, he would have spoken differently.

He also discussed the historical roots of the current conflict in Afghanistan, notably the legacies left by colonialism and the invasion by the Soviet Union, which have led to troubles such as the conflict with Pakistan over the Durand line.

He looked at where the responsibility lies for failures during the war in Afghanistan and the importance of building trust with Pakistan moving forward.

He commented on his hopes for his successor, Ashraf Ghani, and said a return to power for himself would be a failure for Afghanistan’s democratic transition.

Karzai encouraged Syrians to find a solution to their conflict among themselves and not leave their fate to foreign powers. He also urged European countries to accept more Afghan asylum seekers.

Ultimately, he concluded that control of borders matters less than relationships with neighbours and powers in the region.


Key Quotes

'If the intention [with intervention in Afghanistan] was genuinely to fight extremism, and had it been done properly, we would have succeeded... If the intention was right, then the methods were not right. And if the intention itself was not there, then it is a bigger question of great rivalries, of the Great Game, that is beyond poor countries like ours to address.'

'It isn't the borders. It isn't the lines of control. It's the intentions in the neighbourhood and the clarity of approach by our international friends.'

Hamid Karzai