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Between War and Peace: Implications of the Afghan Peace Deal

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On April 22th, 2021, the NATO Association of Canada is proud to host a discussion on the fragile trajectory of peace in Afghanistan. Our experts Kathy Gannon and Kamran Bokhari will examine the implications of the Afghan peace deal on the country’s tense political landscape. Two veteran observers of the region, Gannon and Bokhari, along with international risk expert Hans Bathija, will help us understand the complex, multi-faceted conflict that has ravaged the country for over a decade.

Meet our Speakers

Kathy Gannon serves as news director for Pakistan and Afghanistan for The Associated Press. She has covered the region for the AP as a correspondent and bureau chief since 1988, a period that spans the withdrawal of Russian soldiers from Afghanistan, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the bitter Afghan civil war between Islamic factions and the rise and fall of the Taliban. Gannon was the only Western journalist allowed in Kabul by the Taliban in the weeks preceding the 2001 U.S.-British offensive in Afghanistan. In addition to her coverage of South Central Asia, she has covered the Middle East, including the 2006 Israeli war against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and war in northern Iraq.

In April 2014 Gannon was seriously wounded ̶ hit by seven bullets ̶ while covering preparations for Afghan national elections when an Afghan police officer opened fire on the car in which she was riding. Her colleague and close friend, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus, was killed in the attack. She underwent 18 surgeries and returned to Afghanistan and Pakistan where she has explored sexual abuse in Islamic madrassas, took a deep dive into honor killings, that kill more than a thousand women each year at the hands of their family members, followed the Taliban’s sweep through Afghanistan, Parliamentary and again was in Afghanistan to cover another presidential election, this one in 2019.

A native of Timmins, Ontario, she was the city editor at the Kelowna Courier in British Columbia and worked at several Canadian newspapers before her career took her overseas. She has lived in Israel, Japan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. She has received two honorary doctorates from Northern Canada universities and is the recipient of numerous awards, including:

· International Women’s Media Foundation Courage In Journalism Award;

· Overseas Press Club Award for best newspaper or wire service reporting from abroad;

· Committee to Protect Journalists Burton Benjamin Memorial Award;

· John Peter and Anna Catherine Zenger Freedom of the Press Award from the University of Arizona School of Journalism;

· Grady College McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage from the University of Georgia;

· James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications;

· Canadian Journalists for Free Expression Tara Singh Hayer Memorial Award;

· Edward R. Murrow Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations;

· National Newspaper Awards Governors’ Award;

· AP Oliver S. Gramling Award in Journalism;

In 2005 Gannon authored “I is for Infidel: From Holy War to Holy Terror, 18 Years Inside Afghanistan,” an examination of the Taliban and post-Taliban period, published by PublicAffairs.

Dr. Kamran Bokhari is Director of Analytical Development at the Newlines Institute for Strategy & Policy in Washington. Bokhari is also a national security and foreign policy specialist at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute. Bokhari has also served as the Central Asia Studies Course Coordinator at U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute. He was a Fellow with the Program on Extremism at George Washington University (2016-18). Bokhari has also been a Senior Consultant with The World Bank since 2009.

He has over fifteen years of experience in the private sector intelligence space during which he provided intellectual leadership in the publishing of cutting-edge geopolitical analysis & forecasts. Bokhari is the author of Political Islam in the Age of Democratization (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Bokhari has briefed the U.S., Canadian & UK government agencies, published thousands of analytical/theoretical/op-ed articles, presented papers in international academic/policy forums and given hundreds of interviews to leading global media organizations. Bokhari earned his PhD from the University of Westminster for his dissertation ‘Moderations Among Salafists & Jihadists’.

Hans G. Bathija is the President of BathijaTan, a strategy & risk consulting firm. He was born in Hampstead, England and is a graduate of Glendon College, York University, where he graduated with a degree in Political Science. The son of a refugee, he draws his origins from Central Asia’s Hindu ‘hundi’ bankers from Shikarpur, Sindh, who provided financial services to Afghanistan’s Durrani Empire. Mr Bathija was elected a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society for his research into the Shikarpuri banking network. He presently serves as Vice President of the British Canadian Chamber of Trade & Commerce, Vice-Chair of the Toronto branch of St. John’s Ambulance and a Freeman of The Worshipful Company of International Bankers.

He also serves as Foreign Student Liaison with Canadian Forces College and is a member of Chatham House, the Royal United Services Institute, the Royal Canadian Military Institute and Director of the NATO Association of Canada.

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