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

Belquis Ahmadi on Afghan Women and the Peace Process

Belquis Ahmadi on Afghan Women and the Peace Process

Thursday, March 5, 2020

By: Belquis Ahmadi

Since 2001, Afghan women have assumed larger roles in society—becoming teachers, doctors and government officials. With intra-Afghan talks expected to begin this month, USIP’s Belquis Ahmadi says it’s important the Taliban “accept the reality that today’s Afghanistan is very different from the country they ruled” when it comes to women’s rights.

Type: Podcast

Gender; Peace Processes

The Latest on U.S.-Taliban Talks: 3 Things You Need to Know

The Latest on U.S.-Taliban Talks: 3 Things You Need to Know

Thursday, February 20, 2020

By: Belquis Ahmadi; Barmak Pazhwak; Scott Smith

The U.S. and Taliban have reportedly agreed to a deal to reduce violence, which could ultimately lead to an end to the war in Afghanistan. USIP’s Afghanistan experts explain how the deal could be an important step to sustainable peace, what subsequent intra-Afghan negotiations would focus on and what the agreement means for Afghan women.

Type: Blog

Peace Processes

Will Rising U.S.-Iran Tensions Spark Afghan Proxy War?

Will Rising U.S.-Iran Tensions Spark Afghan Proxy War?

Monday, February 10, 2020

By: Belquis Ahmadi; Barmak Pazhwak; Michael V. Phelan

Rising tensions between the United States and Iran—illustrated and exacerbated by the January 3 assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani—are rippling out beyond the Middle East. Now, American officials are voicing growing concern about Iranian activities in Afghanistan. In recent weeks, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran is supporting militant groups in the country and seeking to undermine the peace process between the U.S. and the Taliban. A top U.S. general for the region, meanwhile, warned that Iranian actions in Afghanistan pose a risk to the approximately 14,000 American troops deployed there.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Colombia’s Imperfect Peace Could Provide a Roadmap for Afghanistan

Colombia’s Imperfect Peace Could Provide a Roadmap for Afghanistan

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

By: Belquis Ahmadi; Maria Antonia Montes

The Afghan peace process was jumpstarted in September 2018 when President Trump appointed Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad as special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation. Since then, Khalilzad has led 10 rounds of U.S.-Taliban talks, with negotiations focusing on two issues: ensuring the Taliban’s commitment to prevent transnational terrorists from using Afghanistan as a base for attacks, and a U.S. military withdrawal. As the search for peace in Afghanistan continues, what lessons can be learned from other peace processes that could apply to Afghanistan? Colombia’s imperfect peace agreement with the FARC is one especially relevant international reference point for Afghanistan—we explain why.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

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

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