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. 

Current Projects

Vietnam War Legacies and Reconciliation Initiative

Vietnam War Legacies and Reconciliation Initiative

In 2021, the U.S. Institute of Peace launched a multiyear project to foster greater dialogue both in and between the United States and Vietnam on war legacy issues and reconciliation. This project stems from the U.S. Congress’s landmark 2021 authorization for the U.S. government to assist Vietnam in identifying its missing personnel, following decades of Vietnamese cooperation to help the United States conduct the fullest possible accounting of U.S. personnel. This project will support this bilateral initiative while also engaging in the work that remains to addresss legacies of war — including the continuing impacts of Agent Orange and unexploded ordnance — and to deepen reconciliation.

Global Policy; Reconciliation

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.

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Featured Publications

Are There Lessons from Vietnam for U.S. Reconciliation with the Taliban?

Are There Lessons from Vietnam for U.S. Reconciliation with the Taliban?

Monday, September 27, 2021

By: Andrew Wells-Dang

The Taliban’s rapid victory in Afghanistan evoked many comparisons to the collapse of the South Vietnamese regime and U.S. evacuation from Saigon in 1975. Ironically, during the same week in late August that the last U.S. forces were withdrawing from Kabul, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris carried out a remarkably successful visit to Hanoi. U.S.-Vietnam relations have arguably never been better — a stark contrast to the scent of failure in Afghanistan.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes; Reconciliation

China and the U.S. Exit from Afghanistan: Not a Zero-Sum Outcome

China and the U.S. Exit from Afghanistan: Not a Zero-Sum Outcome

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

By: Andrew Scobell, Ph.D.

It has become fashionable to characterize recent events in Afghanistan as a loss for the United States and a win for China. This zero-sum interpretation framed in the narrow context of U.S.-China relations is too simplistic and off the mark. The reality is far more complex and nuanced. The end of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and the collapse of that country’s pro-Western government do not automatically translate into significant Chinese gains, nor do they trigger a swift Beijing swoop to fill the vacuum in Kabul left by Washington.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

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