Johnny Walsh is a senior expert on Afghanistan, focusing on the Afghan peace process. Mr. Walsh previously spent 10 years as a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, most recently as lead advisor on the Afghan peace process in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. From 2014-16, he was the senior policy advisor for South Asia, the Middle East, and counterterrorism at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. From 2010-14, he worked on Afghanistan and Pakistan in various capacities at State, including an assignment in Kandahar at the height of the U.S. troop surge.

Mr. Walsh has extensive additional experience on Iraq (including a year at U.S. Embassy Baghdad), Yemen, the Arabian Peninsula, and North Africa. He holds a Masters in Middle Eastern Studies and a Bachelors in International History, both from Harvard University. He is also an accomplished musician who joined with Afghan-American virtuoso Qais Essar to compose an opera entitled Tear a Root From the Earth, which uses Afghan and American folk music to chronicle the two countries’ history together.

Publications By Johnny

War-Weary Afghans March for Peace

War-Weary Afghans March for Peace

Friday, June 29, 2018

By: Maria J. Stephan; Johnny Walsh; USIP Staff

A recent grassroots peace movement in Afghanistan began in late March 2018 as a series of sit-ins and a hunger strike in Helmand province demanding that both the government and Taliban implement a cease-fire. USIP’s Maria Stephan and Johnny Walsh discuss the significance of this nonviolent movement, how its bottom-up approach can strengthen the push for a peace, and what to expect from the movement going forward.

Nonviolent Action

Seize This Moment for Afghan Peace Talks

Seize This Moment for Afghan Peace Talks

Monday, May 21, 2018

By: Johnny Walsh

Even though fighting continues, nearly all serious observers believe a political settlement in Afghanistan is the only plausible alternative to open-ended war. So, while Taliban leaders over the last month have announced their annual spring offensive and disputed Kabul and Washington’s sincerity about making peace, they concurrently show signs of flexibility in how they envision a potential peace deal.

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

ISIS Seeks to Threaten Afghan Democracy with Latest Assault

ISIS Seeks to Threaten Afghan Democracy with Latest Assault

Thursday, May 3, 2018

By: USIP Staff; Johnny Walsh

With last week’s attack aimed at discrediting the electoral process and dissuading Afghans from participating, the Islamic State has made clear that it intends to suppress Afghanistan’s democratic development. Afghanistan’s burgeoning independent media is one of the country’s major success stories and most-trusted institutions.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Democracy & Governance

Sustaining a Hope for Afghan Peace

Sustaining a Hope for Afghan Peace

Friday, March 16, 2018

By: Johnny Walsh

After 16 years of war in Afghanistan, is a door opening for a peace process? The Afghan government and the Taliban insurgents both publicly offered peace talks last month, although the Taliban insist they want to negotiate with the United States and not with the internationally recognized government in Kabul. Past moments of hope for an Afghan peace process have been dashed by missed opportunities and difficult politics on all sides.

Peace Processes

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