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

Can Blinken’s Letter Jump-start the Afghan Peace Process?

Can Blinken’s Letter Jump-start the Afghan Peace Process?

Thursday, March 11, 2021

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

With intra-Afghan talks gridlocked and the U.S. troop withdrawal deadline looming, Secretary of State Antony Blinken proposed new plans to advance the peace process in a letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. The letter recommends several efforts to “move matters more fundamentally and quickly” toward peace, including a U.N.-convened conference of key regional actors, a senior-level meeting between the Afghan government and the Taliban hosted by Turkey and a 90-day reduction in violence to head off the Taliban’s annual spring offensive. Blinken also recommended an interim power-sharing government composed of Taliban and other Afghan leaders.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Amid Peace Talks, Afghan Women’s Rights Hang in the Balance

Amid Peace Talks, Afghan Women’s Rights Hang in the Balance

Monday, March 8, 2021

By: Belquis Ahmadi; Pamela Aall

Three Afghan women journalists and a medical doctor in the eastern city of Jalalabad were shot dead last week, part of a wave of killings—perpetrated by both ISIS and the Taliban—targeting rights activists, judges and journalists. The soaring violence in Afghanistan illustrates the stakes for Afghan women and civil society as the Afghan government and Taliban negotiate in Doha and the Biden administration considers its Afghanistan policy.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Gender; Peace Processes

Afghan Peace Process Tests Women Activists

Afghan Peace Process Tests Women Activists

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

By: Belquis Ahmadi; Matthew Parkes

More than a month after Afghan peace talks formally began, the effort to end the war in Afghanistan is stalled, and no one faces higher stakes than Afghan women. The attempt at negotiations has snagged on preliminary issues, the Taliban have escalated their attacks, and all sides are watching the evolution of the U.S. military role in the country. Afghan women’s rights advocates say the moment, and the need for international support, is critical. U.S. officials have noted how U.S assistance can be vital in supporting women’s rights, a principle that can be advanced at a global donors’ conference next month.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Gender; Peace Processes

Five Things to Know About the Afghan Peace Talks

Five Things to Know About the Afghan Peace Talks

Monday, September 14, 2020

By: Vikram J. Singh; Scott Smith; Scott Worden; Belquis Ahmadi; Johnny Walsh

The intra-Afghan negotiations that began on Saturday represent a watershed moment in the war: the first direct, official talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. These historic talks commenced 19 years and one day after al-Qaida's 9/11 terrorist attacks drew the United States into Afghanistan's civil war. Just getting the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban to the table is an accomplishment. The main reason the talks materialized is the U.S.-Taliban agreement signed in February of this year; that agreement delivered a timetable for the eventual withdrawal of foreign troops, which met the Taliban’s years-long precondition for opening talks with the Afghan government.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Coronavirus Complicates an Already Dire Situation for Afghan Women

Coronavirus Complicates an Already Dire Situation for Afghan Women

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

By: Belquis Ahmadi

Amid the coronavirus pandemic many countries around the world have reported an alarming increase in domestic violence. Indeed, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for measures to address the “horrifying surge in domestic violence” linked to COVID-related lockdowns. In Afghanistan—one of the worst countries in the world for women by almost any metric—the lockdown exacerbates the dire situation many Afghan women already face. As the Afghan peace process inches forward amid a global pandemic, Afghan women’s inclusion and input are critical to combatting COVID and building peace.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Gender; Global Health

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