South Asia and Beyond

‘Impact On Afghanistan Of Coronavirus In U.S. May Rival, Exceed The 1991 Soviet Union Breakup’

AFGHANISTAN: Political Scientist and specialist on Afghanistan Dr Barnett Rubin warns that the threat from the Corona Pandemic and the U.S need to focus on its effects back home, could have an impact on Afghanistan as serious as the breakup of the Soviet Union. In this interview to Tolo News International Desk head Shabeer Ahmadi, Dr Rubin says the U.S. threat of a $ 2 Billion aid cut over 2 years is extremely serious. He believes even if President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah resolve their political differences, it’s doubtful aid will continue at the same levels since America will focus on saving U.S. lives rather than spend money on Afghans fighting each other. Dr Rubin says the Taliban must compromise as this war is unwinnable. On the killing of 25 Sikhs in a Kabul gurudwara, Dr Rubin says it’s a terrible war crime but the Coronavirus Pandemic is the bigger danger since it could kill over 100,000 people very quickly.

Dr. Barnett R. Rubin is a Senior Fellow and Associate Director of the Center on International Cooperation, a think tank in New York University, where he directs the Afghanistan Pakistan Regional Program. During 1994-2000 he was Director of the Center for Preventive Action, and Director, Peace and Conflict Studies, at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Rubin was Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for the Study of Central Asia at Columbia University from 1990 to 1996. Previously, he was a Jennings Randolph Peace Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University.

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From April 2009 until October 2013, Dr. Rubin was the Senior Adviser to the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan in the U.S. Department of State.  In November-December 2001 Rubin served as special advisor to the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Afghanistan, during the negotiations that produced the Bonn Agreement. He subsequently advised the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan on the drafting of the constitution of Afghanistan, the Afghanistan Compact, and the Afghanistan National Development Strategy.

(By arrangement with Tolo News)