Belquis Ahmadi has over 20 years of experience working in Afghanistan on issues related to gender, human rights, civil society development, rule of law, governance and democracy.  Ms. Ahmadi’s extensive experience includes senior management positions under large USAID programs in Afghanistan, evaluation of USAID gender and democracy and governance programming, and analysis and design of gender and human rights programming, and training and mentoring Afghan civil society and government candidates.  She has also published extensively on democracy, governance and women’s rights in Afghanistan.

From November 2010 to March 2014, Ms. Ahmadi worked on the USAID-funded Regional Afghan Municipalities Program for Urban Populations Regional Command East (RAMP UP), implemented in 14 provinces.  In this role, Ms. Ahmadi managed the technical work of the program to ensure high quality results and deliverables.  In addition, she developed core skills training modules to integrate and mainstream gender in all aspects of governance, service delivery, and leadership to over 200 municipal officials in fourteen provinces.

From 2006 to 2009, Ms. Ahmadi served as senior human rights advisor in Afghanistan.  In this role, she provided leadership and management oversight of resources, including budget, planning, and program monitoring; designed and implemented activities promoting women’s rights through the use of religious arguments, providing analysis of the Shiite Personal Status Law, as well as providing advice and guidance in drafting of the Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women; and oversaw the preparation of training materials for programs.

From 2000 to 2004, she served as program coordinator for Global Rights Partners for Justice in Washington D.C., managing their Afghanistan program.  From 1987 to 1999, Ms. Ahmadi worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross, CARE International, and the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR) in Afghanistan.  Ms. Ahmadi earned her LLM in International Human Rights Law from Georgetown University Law Center and her LLB of Law from Kabul University. 

Publications By Belquis

Afghans Want U.S.-Taliban Talks to Resume, But with New Approach

Afghans Want U.S.-Taliban Talks to Resume, But with New Approach

Thursday, October 3, 2019

By: Belquis Ahmadi

Just days before U.S.-Taliban talks were put on freeze earlier in September, I was in Istanbul for a negotiations workshop with 25 Afghan women leaders. These women were expected to play an integral role in intra-Afghan talks that would follow a U.S.-Taliban deal. Even though a deal seemed imminent that week, the Taliban intensified their attacks on Afghan civilians and security forces. Meanwhile, these women were hard at work strategizing for peace. But they, and other Afghans I spoke with in a subsequent trip to Kabul, revealed deep trepidation over what a U.S.-Taliban deal would mean for them, their hard-won rights, and the impact a begrudging peace could have on Afghan society.

Type: Blog

Human Rights; Peace Processes

Afghans Want the Right Peace Deal, Not Just an End to Violence

Afghans Want the Right Peace Deal, Not Just an End to Violence

Monday, August 19, 2019

By: Belquis Ahmadi

Afghans are hopeful that a peace deal between the Taliban and the U.S. will bring them a step closer to the end of the country’s four decades of conflict. This protracted state of war has resulted in the loss of countless lives; mass displacement; and the destruction of infrastructure and the education and justice systems. Afghans will feel the consequences for generations to come.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Belquis Ahmadi on the Afghan Peace Process

Belquis Ahmadi on the Afghan Peace Process

Thursday, May 16, 2019

By: Belquis Ahmadi

Reflecting on recent conversations in Doha and Kabul, USIP’s Belquis Ahmadi says that Afghans told her they want peace, but are not willing to sacrifice the hard-won gains of the last 18 years to get there. As U.S.-Taliban talks move forward, the extent of the Taliban’s evolution on issues like women’s rights remains in question. “I’ll believe it when I see it,” says Ahmadi.

Type: Podcast

Gender; Peace Processes

The Price of Peace in Afghanistan

The Price of Peace in Afghanistan

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

By: Belquis Ahmadi

While U.S.-Taliban talks have moved forward in recent months, intra-Afghan discussions—between the Taliban and the Afghan government—on the country’s political future have yet to even start. A conference scheduled to take place in Doha in mid-April could have initiated that dialogue but was postponed at the last minute over disagreements on who from the Afghan government list of delegates should attend and in what capacity. It was so last minute, in fact, that many planning on attending or observing—myself included—were already on flights to Qatar when the postponement was announced. Left out of negotiations to this point, what does Afghan civil society think about the peace process and the future of their country?

Type: Blog

Gender; Peace Processes

What Can Make Displaced People More Vulnerable to Extremism?

What Can Make Displaced People More Vulnerable to Extremism?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

By: Belquis Ahmadi; Rahmatullah Amiri; Sadaf Lakhani

As the international community works to prevent new generations of radicalization in war-torn regions, debate focuses often on the problem of people uprooted from their homes—a population that has reached a record high of 68.5 million people. Public discussion in Europe, the United States and elsewhere includes the notion that displaced peoples are at high risk of being radicalized by extremist groups such as ISIS. Scholars and peacebuilding practitioners have rightly warned against such generalizations, underscoring the need to learn which situations may make uprooted people vulnerable to radicalization. A new USIP study from Afghanistan notes the importance of specific conditions faced by displaced people—and it offers indications suggesting the importance for policy of supporting early interventions to stabilize the living conditions of displaced people after they return home.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Violent Extremism

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