The effort to end the war in Afghanistan with a political settlement has moved to the forefront of the policy conversation, with all elements of the U.S. government, including the military, increasingly playing a role. As the top American commander in Afghanistan commented this week, “this is not going to be won militarily. This is going to a political solution.”

In support of this effort, USIP is partnering with CENTCOM—the U.S. military command responsible for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East—for a panel on the status of the Afghan peace process and the U.S. military’s potential role. Through the Department of Defense’s Strategic Multilayer Assessment program, CENTCOM has generated five key questions—touching on U.S. strategy toward the peace process, the relationship between top-down and bottom-up peace efforts, and the role of Afghanistan’s neighbors—for a panel of experts with deep experience in this peace effort. Join the conversation on Twitter with #AfghanPeace.

Speakers

Johnny Walsh
Senior Expert, U.S Institute of Peace 

Vikram Singh
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, U.S. Department of State, and Senior Advisor to the Asia Program, U.S. Institute of Peace

Laurel Miller
Former Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, U.S. Department of State, and Senior Foreign Policy Expert, RAND Corporation

Jason Campbell
Former Country Director for Afghanistan, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and Associate Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation

Orzala Nemat 
Director of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, AREU 

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The State of Play in U.S.-Taliban Talks and the Afghan Peace Process

The State of Play in U.S.-Taliban Talks and the Afghan Peace Process

Thursday, April 11, 2019

By: Johnny Walsh

The latest round of U.S.-Taliban talks concluded on March 12, with both sides noting progress but conceding that no breakthroughs had been made. After two weeks of discussions in Doha, Qatar, American officials said they were close to reaching a final agreement on a potential U.S. troop withdrawal and a Taliban pledge to no longer allow terrorist attacks from Afghanistan. But how far can these talks go without the Afghan government involved? Is Afghanistan’s post-2001 progress in jeopardy? And what do regional actors think about the talks? USIP’s Johnny Walsh examines the state of play in the Afghan peace process.

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Reaching a Durable Peace in Afghanistan and Iraq: Learning from Investments in Women’s Programming

Reaching a Durable Peace in Afghanistan and Iraq: Learning from Investments in Women’s Programming

Friday, March 29, 2019

By: Danielle Robertson; Steven E. Steiner

USIP recently partnered with New America to convene roundtable discussions with government, civil society, and humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding organizations to learn from the past decade of women’s programming in fragile states such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Based on these discussions, this report provides guidance for improving future programming to not only integrate the needs of women but also recognize the role women play in transforming violent conflict and sustaining a durable peace.

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Can Afghanistan Reap a Peace Dividend if Taliban Talks Succeed?

Can Afghanistan Reap a Peace Dividend if Taliban Talks Succeed?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

By: William Byrd

In recent months there has been a flurry of movement in the Afghan peace process, leading to talk of a “peace dividend” that would boost the country’s economy and incentivize and sustain peace. For example, the November 2018 Geneva international conference on Afghanistan called for donors and development and regional partners to develop a post-settlement economic action plan. But what would a peace dividend look like in war-torn Afghanistan? In the short run, could it help incentivize the insurgency and state actors to agree and adhere to a peace agreement? And in the longer term, could it help sustain peace and lead to a more prosperous and stable Afghanistan?

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How Peace Was Made: An Inside Account of Talks between the Afghan Government and Hezb-e Islami

How Peace Was Made: An Inside Account of Talks between the Afghan Government and Hezb-e Islami

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

By: Qaseem Ludin

The September 2016 peace accord between the Afghan government and the Hezb-e Islami militant group has been regarded as a first major step toward restoring Afghanistan to a state of peace. This Special Report provides a firsthand account of the protracted negotiations that led to the agreement—and offers important insights for how similar talks might proceed with the Taliban.

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