Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Russia’s Afghanistan Challenge
Reserve a Seat (CUID Only) Register for Zoom Webinar Watch on YouTube


Location Note

1219 International Affairs Building
420 W 118th St, 12th floor

This event is in-person for CUID card holders only. In-person attendees must be in compliance with Columbia University’s health protocols for returning to campus. Pre-registration, valid CUID card, valid green pass, and face covering are required for admittance. All other attendees may participate virtually on Zoom or YouTube.


Please join the Harriman Institute and Eurasianet for a panel discussion with Alexander Cooley (Harriman Institute), Peter Leonard (Eurasianet), and Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili (University of Pittsburgh), moderated by Justin Burke (Eurasianet) and Elise Giuliano (Harriman Institute).

The Taliban’s sudden return to power following the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan has upended Eurasian geopolitics. The Kremlin, like the White House, was caught off guard by the quick collapse of the American-built order in Kabul, and Russian leaders are now scrambling to develop policy responses to the unanticipated turn of events. Our panelists will explore the risks and opportunities facing Russia and its Central Asian neighbors—including the rising threat of cross border instability, new refugee flows, and the resurgence of extremism—amid fresh efforts to confront the Afghan conundrum.


Alexander Cooley is the Claire Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College and Director of Columbia University’s Harriman Institute (2015-present). Professor Cooley’s research examines how external actors—including emerging powers, international organizations, multinational companies, NGOs, and Western enablers of grand corruption—have influenced the development, governance and sovereignty of the former Soviet states, with a focus on Central Asia and the Caucasus. Twitter: @CooleyOnEurasia



Peter Leonard has been Eurasianet’s Central Asia editor since 2015. Prior to that he worked as Ukraine bureau chief for the Associated Press (AP). Between 2009 and 2013, he served as Central Asia correspondent for the AP. He speaks Russian, Italian, Maltese, passable French and very basic Tajik. Twitter: @Peter__Leonard




Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili is Director of the Center for Governance and Markets and Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on issues of self-governance, security, political economy, and public sector reform in the developing world. Twitter: @jmurtazashvili




Event Video