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.  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, 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, 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, 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, Ahmadi served as program coordinator for Global Rights Partners for Justice in Washington D.C., managing their Afghanistan program.  From 1987 to 1999, Ahmadi worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross, CARE International, and the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR) in Afghanistan. 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

Taliban’s Violent Advances Augur Bleak Future for Afghan Women

Taliban’s Violent Advances Augur Bleak Future for Afghan Women

Thursday, July 29, 2021

By: Belquis Ahmadi

Mere days after the United States failed to meet the May 1 troop withdrawal deadline stipulated in its 2019 deal with the Taliban, the militant group began launching major attacks on Afghan security forces and taking control of administrative districts. While disputed, some estimates suggest the Taliban now have control of half of the districts across the country. The violence has already wrought a heavy toll — and women and girls have borne the early brunt.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Gender; Violent Extremism

After Afghanistan Withdrawal: A Return to ‘Warlordism?’

After Afghanistan Withdrawal: A Return to ‘Warlordism?’

Friday, June 25, 2021

By: Barmak Pazhwak; Asma Ebadi; Belquis Ahmadi

As the United States withdraws from Afghanistan, Washington is considering options to ensure its intelligence-gathering and counterterrorism capabilities are maintained. Recent reporting suggests that United States is looking to use bases in Pakistan and in the former Soviet Republics in Central Asia — although without success so far. Washington is also mulling over engaging with Afghan warlords as part of this effort, a strategy it relied on in the 1980s and 90s and to a lesser extent over the last two decades. If history is any guide, this strategy will pose significant risks that could have deadly and destabilizing consequences for Afghanistan and the region. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Fragility & Resilience; Peace Processes

Kabul School Bombing Reinforces Fears Over Post-Withdrawal Security

Kabul School Bombing Reinforces Fears Over Post-Withdrawal Security

Thursday, May 20, 2021

By: Belquis Ahmadi; Fatema Ahmadi

For the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood of Kabul, home to the Hazara minority group, the devastating May 8 bombing outside a school is part of a disturbing trend of attacks in the area. The bombing killed at least 85 and injured around 150 — mostly young girls — and coincided with concerns of escalating violence as the United States withdraws combat troops from Afghanistan. Although no group has claimed responsibility, the Islamic State group (ISIS) has perpetrated similar attacks in the past and many suspect it was again responsible. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Peace Processes

Democracy Is the Afghan Government’s Best Defense Against the Taliban

Democracy Is the Afghan Government’s Best Defense Against the Taliban

Thursday, April 22, 2021

By: Scott Worden; Belquis Ahmadi

The Biden administration’s announcement last week that U.S. troops would be out of Afghanistan by September 11 came as a blow to the current peace talks and many Afghan citizens who appreciate the rights and freedoms that international forces have helped to defend against the Taliban. Still, President Biden made clear that the United States continues to support the Afghan government and democratic system, and, to that end, the administration has indicated it would request $300 million from Congress in additional civilian aid. But Biden explicitly de-linked U.S. troops from that equation — stating that they would not be “a bargaining chip between warring parties.”

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes; Gender; Democracy & Governance

U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan: End to an Endless War?

U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan: End to an Endless War?

Thursday, April 15, 2021

By: Scott Worden; Johnny Walsh; Belquis Ahmadi; Ambassador Richard Olson

President Joe Biden formally announced on Wednesday that the United States will withdraw troops from Afghanistan by September 11 of this year, the 20th anniversary of the al-Qaida attacks that led to the U.S. overthrow of the Taliban. The decision comes a month after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken looked to jump-start the moribund intra-Afghan peace talks in Doha, Qatar with a sweeping set of proposals. Although the withdrawal would mean an end to America’s longest war, the implications for Afghanistan’s hard-won progress are immense and many fear the possibility of a rejuvenated civil war after U.S. troops leave.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

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