Long-awaited intra-Afghan negotiations began on September 12 in Doha, presenting a path to end four decades of conflict in the country and conclude America’s longest war. USIP’s Scott Worden looks at what led to the talks starting, what’s at stake for Afghans, and how the U.S. can support the process.

For more analysis on the Afghan peace process, listen to Scott Worden's episode of the On Peace podcast.

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India, Pakistan Watch Warily as Taliban Move to Takeover

India, Pakistan Watch Warily as Taliban Move to Takeover

Monday, August 2, 2021

By: Vikram J. Singh; Ambassador Richard Olson; Tamanna Salikuddin

The Taliban’s rapid advances have caught the region and the United States off guard. The deterioration in security has forced India, along with many other countries, to retrench its diplomatic presence in the country, closing consulates outside of the capital of Kabul. There have been conflicting reports over the past month over whether or not Indian officials have engaged in talks with Taliban representatives in Qatar. Afghanistan’s neighbors all prefer a negotiated political settlement to the conflict but are preparing for the worst and could look to armed Afghan factions to protect their interests. Meanwhile, Kabul and Islamabad are blaming each other for the spiraling security situation.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Taliban’s Violent Advances Augur Bleak Future for Afghan Women

Taliban’s Violent Advances Augur Bleak Future for Afghan Women

Thursday, July 29, 2021

By: Belquis Ahmadi

Mere days after the United States failed to meet the May 1 troop withdrawal deadline stipulated in its 2019 deal with the Taliban, the militant group began launching major attacks on Afghan security forces and taking control of administrative districts. While disputed, some estimates suggest the Taliban now have control of half of the districts across the country. The violence has already wrought a heavy toll — and women and girls have borne the early brunt.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Gender; Violent Extremism

Central Asia Prepares for Taliban Takeover

Central Asia Prepares for Taliban Takeover

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

By: Gavin Helf, Ph.D.; Barmak Pazhwak

Last week’s conference in Tashkent, Uzbekistan was originally supposed to focus on regional connectivity in South and Central Asia. But the Taliban’s surge in recent weeks consumed the regional conference and has many in the region wary of what’s next. As U.S. and NATO forces draw down their military presence in Afghanistan, the country’s northern neighbors have witnessed Taliban fighters swiftly overrun most of the rural parts of northern Afghanistan, establishing control over nearly all of the 1,500-mile border between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. By all indications, Central Asian states are preparing for a new reality in Afghanistan, one where the Taliban control most, if not all, of the country.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Global Policy

U.S., Pakistan at ‘Convergence’ on Afghanistan, Says Pakistani Envoy

U.S., Pakistan at ‘Convergence’ on Afghanistan, Says Pakistani Envoy

Thursday, July 8, 2021

By: Adam Gallagher

For the last two decades, U.S.-Pakistan relations have been defined by the war in Afghanistan and counterterrorism concerns. With the United States military withdrawal almost complete, the relationship should broaden to focus on other issues important to both countries and the broader South Asia region. The Afghan peace process, however, will continue to be an important component of U.S.-Pakistan relations, said Pakistan’s envoy to the United States on Wednesday. “Afghanistan, for some time, did become [a point of] contention in our relationship. But today, clearly, Afghanistan is a [point of] convergence between Pakistan and United States” as both want to see peace and stability, said Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

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