Colin Cookman is a program officer with the U.S. Institute of Peace's Center for South and Central Asia, working to help support, manage and coordinate research publications across the program's region of focus. He joined the staff in June 2014, after previously working on a part-time basis to support USIP research on Pakistan beginning in February 2013.

Colin has previously worked as a contributing writer for the Economist Intelligence Unit's political risk and macroeconomic analyses of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and was a member of Democracy International's election observation mission during the 2010 Afghan parliamentary elections. From 2008 through 2013, Colin worked as an analyst with the Center for American Progress' national security and international policy team, focusing on the internal political and conflict dynamics of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and American policy towards the region.

Colin received his graduate degree from John Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in 2014, with a concentration in South Asia studies and International Economics, and his undergraduate degree in International Relations from Boston University in 2005.

Publications By Colin

State Strengthening in Afghanistan

State Strengthening in Afghanistan

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

By: Scott Smith; Colin Cookman; editors

Since 2001, Afghanistan’s political and social landscape has changed dramatically. However, international state-strengthening interventions have arguably had mixed results. Unprecedented aid and assistance has helped the country transition to a nascent democracy, attain a greater level of security, rebuild some of its infrastructure, and open more space for civil society participation. 

Democracy & Governance

Afghanistan’s Renewed Reliance on Militias Is Risky Gambit, USIP Reports Show

Afghanistan’s Renewed Reliance on Militias Is Risky Gambit, USIP Reports Show

Thursday, May 28, 2015

By: Emily Horin; Colin Cookman

The Afghan government is responding to an intense Taliban summer offensive in part by providing increasing support to armed militia groups, according to news reports over the past week. But USIP research, including a recent report that examines shifting efforts to disarm and rearm militias, shows that turning to local weapons-toting powerbrokers to shore up the state more often worsens instability.

Violent Extremism; Justice, Security & Rule of Law; Democracy & Governance

Afghanistan: Taliban in Transition?

Afghanistan: Taliban in Transition?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

By: Colin Cookman

During the year of “transition” in Afghanistan in 2014, attention was focused on whether or not the government would survive. The greatest threat was not Taliban violence but a possible breakdown of the elite consensus during the election and a return to civil war. The transition, however, has also forced the Taliban to react to new facts on the ground.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Violent Extremism; Religion; Justice, Security & Rule of Law; Democracy & Governance

Afghanistan: How to Oversee Aid in Uncertain Times

Afghanistan: How to Oversee Aid in Uncertain Times

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

By: Colin Cookman

Last weekend, as many as 7 million Afghan voters are reported to have defied skeptics and cast their ballots for a second time this year in a runoff election to choose a president. Although the U.S. and other international partners are moving to reduce their military presence in the country, the next Afghan administration will still need significant military and non-military assistance. A report by USIP and the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) lays out the discussio...

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