Please join The Asia Foundation and the U.S. Institute of Peace on Tuesday, December 4, for a presentation on The Asia Foundation’s 2018 Survey of the Afghan People, and a panel discussion on the trends and shifts in the views of Afghan citizens from past years.
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. 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.
The U.S. Institute of Peace and the U.S. Department of State jointly hosted a book launch event for Afghanistan’s Heritage, Restoring Spirit and Stone. The event included a discussion with senior panelists who explored how preserving cultural heritage in Afghanistan not only protects the invaluable contributions and historical experiences of people in the region, but also directly supports Afghanistan’s present-day efforts toward becoming a stable and prosperous nation.
Following President Ashraf Ghani’s late February peace offer to the Taliban, a series of major international conferences that consolidated support for a peace deal, and a wave of pro-peace demonstrations across Afghanistan crucial questions remain: What it will take to get the Taliban to join peace talks in earnest? What will a prospective peace agreement look like? How does the peace process affect the Afghan and international military campaign?
Violent extremism has become one of the major challenges to stability in fragile states, characterized by weak, non-inclusive institutions, and lack of economic opportunity. Youth are often perceived as particularly vulnerable to recruitment into extremist groups. The U.S. Institute of Peace has funded several impact evaluations of peacebuilding interventions over the last few years, including two rigorous evaluations of Mercy Corps’ youth programming in Afghanistan and Somalia aimed at reducing support for armed opposition groups.
The search for peace has become a central focus of Afghanistan policy in Washington and for Kabul. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani offered the Taliban constitutional reform and status as a legitimate political party in late February on the condition that the group makes peace. In recent months, the Taliban have also publicly offered talks with the U.S. and prominent Afghan powerbrokers, and high-profile peace demonstrations in conflict-torn Helmand province have spread across much of the country.
Since 2001, the United States and international donors have supported Afghanistan in its attempt to build a thriving private-sector economy. Despite 17 years of effort, progress has been mixed and much remains to be done. Please join USIP and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) for a presentation and panel discussion on how the United States can improve its private-sector development and economic growth efforts in Afghanistan and in other states emerging from conflict.
USIP held an on-the-record presentation and discussion with Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar, which was webcast live on Thursday, March 22nd from 10:30am to 11:30am. NSA Atmar discussed the security challenges in Afghanistan and the path to peace and the recording is available for viewing.
Following the announcement of a new South Asia strategy in August 2017, the Trump administration has laid out significant policy goals in the region, including preventing the Taliban insurgency from winning ground in Afghanistan, deepening the U.S. strategic partnership with India, and forcing a shift in Pakistan’s security strategies towards its neighbors. Does the U.S. have the necessary leverage and influence over key actors in South Asia needed to accomplish its policy goals?
President Ghani’s announcement at last week’s Kabul Process Conference of a peace offer to the Taliban was a potential watershed in the Afghan peace process, and arguably the most forward-leaning plan for peace with the Taliban the Afghan government has ever put forward.