Book Presentation: A Rock Between Hard Places: Afghanistan as an Arena of Regional Insecurity

November 2, 2016 | 17:30 h - 19:00 h

We cordially invite you to our next lecture in the “Risk and Uncertainty for Sustainable Development“ series with


Dr. Kristian Berg Harpviken, Director, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), 

onA Rock Between Hard Places: Afghanistan as an Arena of Regional Insecurity”.

Date: Wednesday, November 2, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Venue: Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung / Center for Development Research (ZEF), Walter-Flex-Straße 3, 53113 Bonn (see <link>map). Right conference room.

Chair: Prof. Dr. Eva Youkhana, ZEFa-Director

Discussant: Dr. Katja Mielke, researcher at BICC


Abstract of lecture

In their 2016 book, A Rock Between Hard Places: Afghanistan as an Arena of Regional Insecurity (London/New York: Hurst/Oxford University Press), Kristian Berg Harpviken and Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh challenged the conventional analysis which places Afghanistan at the centre — the so-called ‘heart’ — of a large pan-Asian region whose fate is predicated on Afghan stability. Rather, they argued, it makes analytically far more sense to situate Afghanistan on the margins of three regional security complexes — those of South Asia, Central Asia, and the Persian Gulf — each characterized by deep security rivalries, which, in turn, informs their engagement in Afghanistan. A basic premise for their claims is that the basic composition of regions, and the amity/enmity between states, is remarkably constant.

Yet, in each of the three regions surrounding Afghanistan, there is rapid change. Simultaneously, we also see change in the involvement of the global powers, with US influence seemingly waning, Chinese interest on the rise, and considerable uncertainty over Russia’s future engagement. How does all of this manifest itself in Afghanistan, where the internal struggle between the Taliban and an increasingly fragile government alliance continues to intensify?

Information about the speaker: <link https: people person external-link-new-window external link in new>CV Dr.<link https: people person external-link-new-window external link in new> <link https: people person external-link-new-window external link in new>Kristian Berg Harpviken

Background information on the “Risk and Uncertainty for Sustainable Development” series
In this seminar series we address opportunities, risks and uncertainties for development. Uncertainty, i.e. the unknown unknowns, is a particular challenge. Risk and uncertainty have become a focal topic among development researchers, policy makers and practitioners as worldwide, economy and ecology have been assailed by a series of global crises: financial crisis, high and volatile food and oil price, and/or climate change. These crises present threats to development and to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The understanding, mitigating and controlling of risk and uncertainty is far from being understood. The seminar series provides a forum for agenda setting and discussion on related themes with leading experts in this field of research and policy.

We are looking forward to receiving you at ZEF.


For more information please contact Susanne Heinke, Head of Public Relations, BICC, phone: +49 (0)228/911 96-44 / -0, e-mail: <link>