The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has had long-standing engagement in South and Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific. USIP’s Asia Center, established in 2015, currently maintains country offices in Afghanistan, Burma and Pakistan, where staff work with local and international partners to encourage greater inclusivity, promote political and social participation, advance justice, support mechanisms for conflict resolution and reconciliation, counter violent extremism, and pilot, test, and learn from innovative approaches to address violent conflict. The Washington, D.C.-based China program is focused on China’s impact on peace and conflict dynamics globally, with a particular interest in the countries and conflict zones where USIP works. Through research, a range of publications, public and private events, and briefings to national and international policy makers, the Asia Center deepens understanding of peace and conflict dynamics and helps inform policies and strategies on how best to manage violent conflict.

Regional and Non-Priority Country Initiatives

The Asia Center also applies its research, analysis, and convening strengths toward better understanding of regional, bilateral, or cross-border drivers of conflict relevant to its four priority country programs. The Center has previously supported research and dialogue on various aspects of the India-Pakistan and Afghanistan-Pakistan relationships, the Korean peninsula, regional economic initiatives, issues related to natural resources, and common trends in extremism in Southeast Asia, among others.

Where needs, opportunities and resources permit, the Asia Center also seeks to help prevent, mitigate or resolve violent conflict through on-ground initiatives beyond the Center’s priority programs. For example, the Center currently has active projects in Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan. 

Currents Projects

Afghanistan Peace Process

Afghanistan Peace Process

Almost 20 years after the United States ousted the Taliban regime, the first direct peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government began in Doha, Qatar in September 2020. The Taliban, Afghan government, and international forces have fought to a deadly stalemate, with both battle deaths and civilian casualties near record highs in recent years.

Peace Processes

Afghanistan Study Group

Afghanistan Study Group

The congressionally mandated Afghanistan Study Group (ASG) was charged with identifying policy recommendations that “consider the implications of a peace settlement, or the failure to reach a settlement, on U.S. policy, resources, and commitments in Afghanistan.” After ten months of extensive deliberations and consultations, the ASG submitted its report containing forward-looking recommendations to Congress, the Biden administration, and the public.

Global Policy; Peace Processes; Violent Extremism

China Senior Study Group

China Senior Study Group

Over the last decade, China has become more engaged internationally, including in conflict zones and fragile states of strategic interest to the United States. From civil wars in neighboring countries, such as Afghanistan and Myanmar, to more distant conflicts in Africa, China is becoming an increasingly important player in regional and international efforts to mitigate conflict. In countries where China exerts a strong influence, its engagement can have a substantial impact on local and international efforts to curb violence and extremism.

Peace Education in Afghanistan

Peace Education in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s next generation of leaders have an opportunity to break out of the cycles of violence that have caused civil wars, insurgencies, and widespread human rights abuses and domestic violence over the past decades.  To do this, government officials and community leaders need to have practical skills to identify sources of conflict and know how to de-escalate tensions and negotiate peaceful solutions.

Youth; Democracy & Governance; Gender; Violent Extremism

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Featured Publications

11 Things to Know: Afghanistan on the Eve of Withdrawal

11 Things to Know: Afghanistan on the Eve of Withdrawal

Thursday, June 17, 2021

By: Andrew Wilder; Scott Worden

U.S. and NATO troops are rapidly executing President Biden’s policy of a complete withdrawal of American troops and contactors supporting the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) by a deadline of September 11. Based on the rate of progress, the last American soldier could depart before the end of July. The decision to withdraw without a cease-fire or a framework for a political agreement between the Taliban and the government caught Afghans and regional countries by surprise. The Taliban have capitalized on the moment to seize dozens of districts and project an air of confidence and victory.  

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes; Fragility & Resilience

Central Asia’s Growing Internet Carries New Risks of Violence

Central Asia’s Growing Internet Carries New Risks of Violence

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

By: Rafal Rohozinski; Robert Muggah

The “Great Game” has returned to Central Asia, but with a digital twist. Where once the British and Russian empires competed over lucrative trade routes and territorial influence, today the region is at the geopolitical and ideological confluence between competing visions of internet governance. China, Russia, Europe and the United States are all seeking to shape the region’s technology environment. What happens in Central Asia will have profound implications for the five countries of the region and the future of civic freedoms and digital rights more widely. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Violent Extremism; Democracy & Governance

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