On Friday a Taliban suicide bomber detonated in downtown Kabul in the doorway of a Lebanese restaurant which was popular with foreigners. Two accomplices then went into the restaurant and gunned down the people inside.

The victims included a Labour party candidate for the forthcoming European elections, the IMF’s country director and a young Afghan couple. They also included a friend and colleague, Alexandros Petersen.

Educated in London, Alex worked for some years at the Henry Jackson Society as well as at the Atlantic Council and the Woodrow Wilson Center. He had recently joined the political science faculty of the American University in Afghanistan.

Alex was a deeply impressive individual with a list of academic and scholarly accomplishments to his name and a fine future ahead of him. Smart in every usage of the word, he was also adventurous and took an active as well as academic interest in the countries he wrote about. A specialist on energy as well as grand strategy, he could be relied on to crop up and elucidate on the situation in an extraordinary number of places. Before last year’s elections, I bumped into him in Tbilisi, and over drinks Alex led me through the current and historic troubles of Georgia and its neighbours with a fluidity and range that would have been envied by any scholar twice his age. It was a pleasure to help launch his subsequent HJS report on how to bring about a peaceful solution to Georgia’s conflicts.

We had started off together, and I had looked forward to many such encounters over the years ahead. My thoughts are with his family. This is just to note and mourn the loss of someone who had much to give and, despite all his achievements and travels, had barely started out on his journey.

Tags: Academia, Afghanistan, Georgia, Henry Jackson Society, Obituaries, Taliban