Kate Bateman is a senior expert on Afghanistan for the U.S. Institute of Peace. 

Previously, Bateman was a project lead in the Lessons Learned Program at the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), where she led reports on anticorruption, counternarcotics, reintegration of ex-combatants and gender equality. From 2016-2017, as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), Bateman researched and wrote on corruption as a national security issue. She has also served in intelligence and policy positions at the State Department in Washington, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka, and was a legislative aide on Capitol Hill.

Bateman’s research focuses on the Afghanistan conflict, stabilization and peacebuilding efforts in fragile states, and the intersection of corruption and U.S. foreign policy interests. She has a master’s from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a bachelor’s from Middlebury College. 

In addition to Bateman’s published work at SIGAR and CNAS, her analysis has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Lawfare, The National Interest, The Hill and Proceedings. 

Publications By Kate

What to Expect from the Doha Conference on Afghanistan

What to Expect from the Doha Conference on Afghanistan

Thursday, February 15, 2024

By: Kate Bateman;  Andrew Watkins

On February 18-19, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will convene a meeting on Afghanistan in Doha to discuss the ongoing humanitarian and human rights crises and the recent report on a way forward by U.N. Special Coordinator for Afghanistan Feridun Sinirlioğlu. Special envoys from U.N. member states and international organizations will attend; representatives from Afghan civil society, women’s groups and Taliban officials have also been invited. The conference is a critical, high-level opportunity for donors and the region to chart next steps on how to improve the situation in Afghanistan and engage with the Taliban regime.

Type: Analysis

Global Policy

A Shift Toward More Engagement with the Taliban?

A Shift Toward More Engagement with the Taliban?

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

By: Kate Bateman

Since the Taliban retook power in Afghanistan in August 2021, the United States has found itself in a vexing dilemma — wanting to condemn and hold accountable the Taliban regime for persecuting women and girls, harboring terrorists and failing to govern inclusively, but also wanting Afghanistan to avoid famine and civil war, and achieve some economic and political stability. U.S. policymakers have thus tried to balance principle and pragmatism. To exert pressure on the Taliban, the United States has withheld diplomatic recognition and traditional development aid, frozen Afghan Central Bank assets and maintained sanctions on Taliban leaders.

Type: Analysis

Global Policy

Learning from Failed Peace Efforts in Afghanistan

Learning from Failed Peace Efforts in Afghanistan

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

By: Kate Bateman

Over the course of 20 years, the United States made strategic mistakes in its war with the Taliban that helped fuel the insurgency and likely precluded an earlier end to the war. The U.S. government became fixated on a purely military solution, to the neglect of a political solution. This overwhelming focus on dealing the Taliban a decisive defeat was reinforced by the perceived political risks of negotiating a peace agreement with an organization that was seen solely through the lens of the war on terror. The United States should learn from its experience in Afghanistan and the opportunities it missed to reach a better and faster outcome to the war.

Type: Analysis

Peace Processes

U.N. Conference Highlights Global Unity but Limited Leverage Over the Taliban

U.N. Conference Highlights Global Unity but Limited Leverage Over the Taliban

Thursday, May 4, 2023

By: Belquis Ahmadi;  Kate Bateman;  Andrew Watkins;  Scott Worden

Over a year and a half since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, not a single country has recognized its government. Yet, it has resulted in no change in Taliban behavior. The worst predictions of what Taliban rule could be like have come true, as the regime has implemented unprecedented restrictions on women amid a brutal humanitarian crisis. The situation is so bad that U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres convened a special conference in Doha, Qatar this week — with no Taliban representation — to discuss Afghanistan’s international isolation. While there were no tangible outcomes — evidence of how limited the international community’s leverage really is — it did demonstrate remarkable consensus on the imperative to help the Afghan people.

Type: Analysis

GenderGlobal PolicyHuman Rights

Can the Taliban’s Brazen Assault on Afghan Women Be Stopped?

Can the Taliban’s Brazen Assault on Afghan Women Be Stopped?

Thursday, January 12, 2023

By: Belquis Ahmadi;  Kate Bateman;  Andrew Watkins;  Scott Worden

The Taliban marked the New Year by doubling down on their severe, ever-growing restrictions on women’s rights. On December 20, they banned women from all universities — adding to their prior ban on girls attending middle and high school. Then the Taliban announced on December 24 that women cannot work for NGOs, including humanitarian organizations that are providing vital food and basic health services to the population that is now projected at 90 percent below the poverty rate. Western and regional governments have responded with uncommonly unified outrage and many humanitarian organizations have suspended their operations until women are allowed to return to their jobs.

Type: Analysis

GenderHuman Rights

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