Major conference to discuss the war in Afghanistan

The Scottish Centre for War Studies at the University of Glasgow is marking its fifteenth anniversary by hosting a major international conference to discuss the on-going conflict in Afghanistan.

The conference on 15 and 16 March brings together soldiers, scholars, diplomats and journalists from around the world, including two representatives of the American Naval War College. The key themes will be the degree of progress being made in light of President Obama’s American troop surge in the country, the debate over the course of counter-narcotics policy in the country, and the particular challenges of coordinating the coalition of over forty different countries that was currently operating in Afghanistan.

Dr Alex Marshall, current convenor of the War Studies Centre, said: “2011 will mark the tenth anniversary of the NATO intervention in Afghanistan, placing the coalition presence there on the same timescale as the Soviet intervention of the 1980s. It also underlines the fact that this conflict has now lasted longer than either the First or the Second World Wars.

“Many of the current issues generating conflict in Afghanistan today reflect wider regional tensions and cross-border movements - from insurgents trained and based in Pakistan now operating in Afghanistan to wider Pakistani-Indian geopolitical rivalry and, of course, the smuggling of heroin through Iran, Russia and Central Asia to Europe.

“With public opinion clearly divided over the value of prolonging the foreign troop presence in Afghanistan, and the London conference recently attempting to agree a new way forward, the Scottish Centre for War Studies  believes Afghanistan is the most urgent contemporary security dilemma.”

In an innovative first for the Centre, academics and the wider public around the world will be able to watch live streaming on the University’s website of the keynote address by the UK’s leading scholar of modern military history, Professor Hew Strachan, the Chichele Professor of War Studies at Oxford University, and the following roundtable discussion in the Senate Room at the University of Glasgow.

The Scottish Centre for War Studies has become one of the leading centres in the UK for strategic studies, with a thriving research centre and a healthy graduate master’s programme.  The Centre plans to build on the Afghanistan conference to develop a new research agenda investigating the trans-national networks that look set to shape the nature of human conflict in the twenty-first century.

Speakers attending the event entitled: ‘Afghanistan’s Next Crossroads: Ten Years of International Intervention, 2001-2011’ include: Brigadier Sean Crane (Senior Military Advisor to UN SRSG in Afghanistan 2007 – 2008); Professors Marc Genest and Andrea Dew, Directors of the Centre for Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups at the Naval War College in Newport Rhode Island; Dr Antonio Giustozzi (author of Koran, Kalashnikov and Laptop); Professor Sultan Barakat, founder of the Post-War Reconstruction and Development Unit at the University of York; Harsh Pant a lecturer at Kings College London; Mr Abbie Aryan, former senior adviser to the Afghan Ministry of Narcotics; and Michael Thomas, head of the Foreign Office’s Afghan Study Unit.
Founder and first director of the Scottish Centre for War Studies in 1995, Professor Strachan is the UK’s leading scholar of modern military history. Because of his vision and support the centre has become one of the leading centres in the UK for strategic studies, with a thriving research centre and a healthy graduate master’s programme. 

Further information:
Martin Shannon, Senior Media Relations Officer
University of Glasgow Tel: 0141 330 8593

Dr Alex Marshall, Scottish Centre for War Studies.
University of Glasgow Tel: 0141 330 8581

Watch a recording of Professor Hew Strachan's keynote address and the following roundtable discussion.

First published: 10 March 2010

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