The Crisis in Afghanistan: Teaching to the Conflict

September 21, 2021

Watching the news of Afghanistan over the last few weeks has been heartbreaking for many of us who have a close connection to the country, its people, and its history.  For some Afghan-Canadians, they watch from the comfort of their homes, often with a sense of guilt as relatives still in the country scramble to escape. With President Ashraf Ghani having left the country and the Taliban having taken power with an interim cabinet of their own, we find ourselves back where we were 20 years ago, before the ongoing campaigns of what would become an interminable War on Terror infecting every corner of our lived experience.  

For some of us who have spent time studying the country and its travails, there’s a shudder of disbelief as we see media pundits, government policy makers, and others engage in uninformed commentary when, after 20 years of military engagement, they (and all of us) ought to better recognize the complexities of the region. Admittedly, there is a dearth of expertise on Afghanistan and its history here in Canada, which perhaps explains why so little is known about Afghanistan’s complex history. For instance, when Maryam Monsef, Liberal MP and Federal Minister, revealed that though identifying as an Afghan, was born in Iran, it was a scandal for politicians in Ottawa. But anyone remotely familiar with the history of Afghanistan and its people would hardly find that set of facts controversial. With invasion after invasion, the result is a set of complex lives lived in the shadow of imperial violence.  

As an academic home for scholars of Islam and Muslims, the Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS) recognizes that the current crisis in Afghanistan prompts heated emotions and politics. But the IIS also recognizes that these heated contexts are often built upon limited knowledge about Afghanistan. To that end, the IIS will feature a series of Afghanistan teach-ins on the culture, history, and politics of the region. Each teach-in will be a pre-recorded lecture of approximately 20 minutes, and will feature academics, professionals, and leaders from various sectors speaking to issues that intersect with the current crisis in Afghanistan.  

Please find below the latest videos from the teach-in series. Be sure to check back for periodic updates or subscribe to our newsletter

Teach-in #1:  

Supporting Vulnerable Communities – Islamic Relief in Afghanistan

Teach-in #2:  

Resettlement of Afghan People in Canada – Naseem Mithoowani, Mithoowani Waldman Immigration Law Group

Teach-in #3:  

Regional Context for Crisis in Afghanistan – Wil Patrick, PhD Candidate, Critical Geographies Research Lab, University of Victoria