(Washington, D.C.) – The U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) is pleased to announce that on April 24, 2020, it will convene the inaugural meeting of the congressionally mandated Afghanistan Peace Process Study Group (ASG), co-chaired by Kelly Ayotte, former U.S. senator (R-NH); Joseph Dunford, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Nancy Lindborg, USIP president and CEO. 

The ASG has been charged with identifying policy recommendations that “consider the implications of a peace settlement, or the failure to reach a settlement, on U.S. policy, resources, and commitments in Afghanistan.” The ASG will submit a document containing forward-looking recommendations to Congress, the administration, and the public in early 2021.

“A stable and peaceful Afghanistan is important to our national security, and we cannot allow Afghanistan to again become a safe haven for terrorists,” said Senator Ayotte. “We are at a critical juncture in Afghanistan, and I appreciate that Congress has asked the Institute of Peace to convene this bipartisan group of experts to examine how we can best ensure a peaceful outcome in Afghanistan which protects America and promotes stability in the region. I am honored to join my co-chairs in this timely effort.”

“I’m pleased to join Senator Ayotte, President Lindborg, and the other members of the Afghanistan Study Group in this important endeavor,” said General Dunford. “As a group, we are committed to producing a report that assists policy makers and members of Congress in advancing our national interests in Afghanistan and more broadly in South Asia.”

"After decades of violent conflict, the Afghan people are deeply hungry for peace and remain committed to the gains made over the last 19 years,” said USIP president and CEO Nancy Lindborg. “USIP appreciates the congressional focus on helping our country identify how it can support and sustain a peace settlement – or develop a plan in the absence of one."

The 14-member bipartisan study group was selected by the co-chairs following a deliberative process, which included consultations with Congress. Its members bring a diversity of strategic and practical knowledge including economic, military, diplomatic, social, and geopolitical expertise, as well as experience across large and complex organizations and processes.

ASG members, in addition to the co-chairs, are Jim Dobbins, Joe Donnelly, Michèle Flournoy, Susan Gordon, Mark Green, Marc Grossman, Stephen Hadley, David Miliband, Lisa Monaco, Meghan O’Sullivan, and Curtis Scaparrotti.

A senior advisors group has also been appointed by the ASG co-chairs. The senior advisors offer deep subject-matter expertise spanning a range of specialties. They will provide insights and analysis on topics being addressed by the ASG and will present their findings to the study group members on specific issues. The ASG will also consult with key external stakeholders, including allies, regional partners, multilateral institutions, and civil society and community groups, as well as the private sector, and representatives of the administration and Congress, for briefings and discussion.

ASG senior advisors are Rina Amiri, Jarrett Blanc, Frances Brown, James Cunningham, Vanda Felbab-Brown, Don Hepburn, Kimberly Kagan, Peter Lavoy, Clare Lockhart, Carter Malkasian, Laurel Miller, Vali Nasr, Michael O’Hanlon, Rick Olson, Dafna Rand, Edward Reeder, Susan Reichle, Nigel Roberts, Barney Rubin, Jonathan Schroden, Steve Symansky, Alex Thier, and Scott Worden.

USIP has extensive experience in supporting congressionally mandated bipartisan studies. The Institute most recently facilitated the Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States (2018-2019) and the Syria Study Group (2019). USIP previously facilitated the 2010 and 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review panels, the 2018 National Defense Strategy Commission, and the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, in addition to the 2006 Iraq Study Group and the 2005 Task Force on United Nations Reform.

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