Afghanistan: an Evolving Situation

In this event, we discussed some of the many challenges arising from the Taliban’s return to power following the fall of Kabul on August 15 and the full U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 30, 2021.

These challenges include the massive humanitarian need of those in Afghanistan, the complex refugee and migration issues as people try to leave the country, the human rights situation of women and girls under Taliban rule, and the geopolitical implications for the future relationship between Afghanistan, the US, China, Russia and other regional powers.


Aslı Ü. Bâli is Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law and is currently serving as the Samuel Rubin Visiting Professor of Law at the Columbia Law School. Bâli previously served as the founding director of the Promise Institute for Human Rights and Director of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies. She is also chair of the MESA Global Academy, a project assisting displaced scholars from the Middle East and North Africa as they re-establish careers and join intellectual communities in North America. Her principal scholarly interests lie in two areas: public international law—including international human rights law and the law of the international security order—and comparative constitutional law, with a focus on the Middle East. Bâli’s recent scholarship has appeared in the American Journal of International Law Unbound, International Journal of Constitutional Law, University of Chicago Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Yale Journal of International Law, Cornell Journal of International Law, Vanderbilt Transnational Law Journal, the Virginia Journal of International Law, and edited volumes published by Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press.

Haroon Azar is a Senior Fellow at the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations and the former Program Director for the Center’s Initiative on Security and Religious Freedom. Mr. Azar is a recognized national security expert with broad experience working with law enforcement and faith-based communities to further resilience mission areas. Previously, Mr. Azar worked as Deputy Director for the Middle East, Africa, & South Asia in the Office of International Affairs at DHS Headquarters in Washington DC. His portfolio included providing the Office of the Secretary with policy counsel and management of international affairs related to homeland security. Additionally, Mr. Azar was responsible for negotiating bilateral and multilateral security agreements with international partners focusing on improving immigration policy, visa security, aviation security, border security, supply chain management, and countering violent extremism efforts.

Hasina Safi is Afghanistan’s former Minister of Women’s Affairs. She previously served as Minister of Information and Culture. Hasina has over 20 years of extensive experience in women development programs working with UN agencies, international organizations and Afghan civil society organizations, including the International Rescue Committee, Danish Committee for Aide to Afghan Refugees, International Organization on Migration, Afghan Women’s Educational Center, United Nations Development Program, Afghan Women’s Network, and the Afghanistan High Peace Council. She has been one of the strategic advocators for women’s rights, representing civil society and Afghan women in national, regional and international events such as Peace consultation Jirga, traditional Jirga, London Conference, Kabul Conference.


Kal Raustiala is the Promise Institute Professor of Comparative and International Law at UCLA Law School and Professor at the UCLA International Institute, where he teaches in the Program on Global Studies. Since 2007 he has served as Director of the UCLA Ronald W. Burkle Center for International Relations. From 2012-2015 he was UCLA’s Associate Vice Provost for International Studies and Faculty Director of the International Education Office. Professor Raustiala’s research focuses on international law, international relations, and intellectual property. He is currently writing a biography of the late UN diplomat, civil rights figure, and UCLA alum Ralph Bunche for Oxford University Press.

This event is co-sponsored by: the UCLA International and Comparative Law Program, Promise Institute for Human Rights, Burkle Center for International Relations, Public Interest Law and Policy Program, Center for Immigration Law and Policy, International Human Rights Law Association, International Refugee Assistance Project and Law Students for Immigrant Justice.