Scott Worden is director of Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). He comes into this role with an extensive background in reconstruction, development, democracy and governance, policy, among others; as well as extensive regional expertise on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Prior to joining USIP, Worden was director of the Lessons Learned Program at the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), and served as acting director of policy as well as a senior policy advisor for the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In the latter position, he was responsible for advising senior officials on strategies for sustainable development in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

At his previous time with USIP, Worden directed Rule of Law development programs for the USIP and served as a United Nations-appointed Electoral Complaints Commissioner for the 2009 Afghanistan elections, as well as advising the U.N. on elections in 2005-06. 

Worden has a decade of experience working on Afghanistan issues and working in the field.

Originally from Boston, Mr. Worden earned his bachelor’s at Colgate University and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School.

Publications By Scott

Intolerance of Atrocity Crimes in Ukraine Should Apply to Afghanistan

Intolerance of Atrocity Crimes in Ukraine Should Apply to Afghanistan

Thursday, April 28, 2022

By: Belquis Ahmadi;  Kate Bateman;  Scott Worden

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has caused massive loss of life and destruction of property, forcing millions to seek refuge in neighboring countries. There is mounting evidence that the Russian military has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, intentionally attacking Ukrainian civilians. The urgent attention that Western countries have given to Russian war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine has the potential to provide some accountability for gross violations of human rights as well as to shore up a faltering framework of international human rights law.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human RightsJustice, Security & Rule of LawGlobal Policy

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Helps the Taliban and Makes Afghans Worse Off

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Helps the Taliban and Makes Afghans Worse Off

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

By: Scott Worden

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an acute disaster for Ukraine and Europe. But it also has a profound geopolitical impact — one that will have ripple effects for the major humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan. An active war in Europe is bad news for Afghanistan, as this draws away resources, sympathy and attention from the millions of Afghans that are also struggling to get cash, food and protection from human rights abuse. And the Taliban stand to benefit, since they no longer appear to be the world’s most notorious aggressor and will gain political space to consolidate their control over the country.  

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & PreventionGlobal PolicyHuman Rights

Can the Taliban Be Stopped? Three Scenarios for What’s Next in Afghanistan

Can the Taliban Be Stopped? Three Scenarios for What’s Next in Afghanistan

Thursday, August 12, 2021

By: Scott Worden

The Afghan government has had its most difficult week fighting the Taliban since the insurgency began. As of this writing, 12 provincial capitals have fallen since last Friday, marking the first time the Taliban have controlled a city since they were ousted in 2001. By some estimates the Taliban control two-thirds of the country. While many experts predicted that the rapid and unconditional withdrawal of U.S. troops would increase Taliban control, few saw it happening this fast. A Taliban takeover of Kabul — once thought to be years away if at all — is now conceivable within months, or even a matter of weeks.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

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