PSA/ASAP Panel Discussion: Afghan Elections and the Future of US-Afghan Relations

APR 7- PUBLIC EVENT Lisa Curtis (Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation), Omar Samad (Former Afghan Ambassador to Canada and France and Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation), Jed Ober (Director of Programs at Democracy International) and moderated by Caroline Wadhams (Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress)

WHEN: Monday, April 7 at 2:00pm

WHERE: 2212 Rayburn House Office Building, Capitol Hill

TO RSVP: Email with your organization affiliation
Follow the event on Twitter! #AfghanElectionsPanel @PSAOnline @afghanalliance
The results of the past 12 years of efforts, investments and sacrifices by the United States and members of the international community in Afghanistan will be tested by Afghanistan’s April 5th election. The election process will likely take several months to complete but will result in a new era as current President Hamid Karzai will be replaced. If the elections are successful, it will mark the first peaceful transition of power through a democratic process in Afghanistan’s history.

For the U.S., successful Afghan elections will be important in securing the possible signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), necessary to define the future presence of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan to further assist and train the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Many believe this would be crucial to ensure Afghanistan does not become a haven for terrorist groups in the future. It will also allow the United States to address potential long term threats from remnants of Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups in the region.

The many questions posed by the election will not immediately be answered. Questions include: How will recent Taliban threats affect the transition of power from President Karzai to his successor? What standard can the international community use to measure the success of the elections? What is at stake for the U.S. if a BSA is not signed?

To seek answers to these questions and for early analysis following the first round of elections, join the Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) and the Alliance in Support of the Afghan People (ASAP) for a panel discussion featuring four Afghanistan experts.


Lisa Curtis, Senior Research Fellow, Heritage Foundation. Lisa Curtis analyzes America’s economic, security, and political relationships with India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other South Asian countries as a Senior Research Fellow at Heritage. Previously, she has served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was the White House-appointed senior assistant to the assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, and served in the Foreign Service in India and Pakistan.

Omar Samad, Former Afghan Ambassador to Canada and France, Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation. Ambassador Omar Samad is the founder and president of Silkroad Consulting, L.L.C. based in Virgina. In addition to working at the New America Foundation, he has previously served as the Afghan ambassador to France and Canada, expert in-residence at the United States Institute of Peace Center for Conflict Management, and was the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul.

Jed Ober, Director of Programs at Democracy International. Jed has served multiple roles at Democracy International. Currently as Director of Programs, he is responsible for overseeing the implementation of programs overseas. He has previously served as Chief of Staff and Logistics Officer in Kabul for regional election observations. Before joining Democracy International, he has worked at the Project on Middle East Democracy, An-Najah National University in the West Bank, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign.

Caroline Wadhams, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. As a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, Caroline Wadhams focuses on national security, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and terrorism. Prior to joining the Center for American Progress, she served as a legislative assistant for foreign policy for Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), the Council on Foreign Relations. Overseas, she has worked with the International Rescue Committee in Sierra Leone and a U.S. election observer in Afghanistan.