This volume poses and attempts to answer a series of basic, but complex, questions regarding engagement of proscribed armed groups (PAGs). This handbook is part of the Peacemaker’s Toolkit series, published by the United States Institute of Peace.

Talking to Groups That Use Terror Book Cover

Summary

This handbook poses and attempts to answer a series of basic, but complex, questions: Is there any advantage to the peace process in inviting or permitting the participation of proscribed armed groups (PAGs)? What kinds of PAGs are worth talking to and which are not? What form should the talks take and whom should they involve?

Each of the following six chapters covers a different step in the process of talking to groups that use terror:

  • assess the potential for talks

  • design a strategy for engagement

  • open channels of communication

  • foster commitment to the process

  • facilitate negotiations

  • and protect the process from the effects of violence

Print copies of this toolkit can be purchased from USIP's online bookstore.

About this Handbook

This handbook is part of the series the Peacemaker’s Toolkit, which is being published by the United States Institute of Peace. For twenty-five years, the United States Institute of Peace has supported the work of mediators through research, training programs, workshops, and publications designed to discover and disseminate the keys to effective mediation.

The Institute—mandated by the U.S. Congress to help prevent, manage, and resolve international conflict through nonviolent means—has conceived of The Peacemaker’s Toolkit as a way of combining its own accumulated expertise with that of other organizations active in the field of mediation. Most publications in the series are produced jointly by the Institute and a partner organization. All publications are carefully reviewed before publication by highly experienced mediators to ensure that the final product will be a useful and reliable resource for practitioners.

Related Publications

The Need to Build on Security Gains in Mozambique

The Need to Build on Security Gains in Mozambique

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

By: Thomas P. Sheehy

The Rwandan armed forces and police deployed to the Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique have made impressive gains combatting the Islamic State-affiliated al-Shabaab militants that have devastated the area. These 1,000 or so forces secured the key port city of Mocimboa da Praia in August, and the militants — who have committed grave atrocities, killed thousands and driven nearly a million people from their homes — have been forced to retreat from several areas of this natural resource-rich region. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Violent Extremism

Making Sense of North Korea’s Missile Test

Making Sense of North Korea’s Missile Test

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

By: Frank Aum

North Korea announced on September 13 that it had tested long-range cruise missiles over the weekend. It described the missiles as a “strategic weapon of great significance.” The test caused alarm in North Korea’s neighbors — South Korea and Japan, both U.S. allies — as the revelation now puts both countries within striking distance. But despite the test, a spokesperson for the Biden administration said the United States remains prepared to engage with North Korea. USIP’s Frank Aum discusses the significance of the tests, the arms race on the Korean Peninsula, and what signals North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be sending to the United States with this latest test. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

Thai Authorities Struggle to Understand a Conflict They Have Been Fighting for Decades

Thai Authorities Struggle to Understand a Conflict They Have Been Fighting for Decades

Monday, September 13, 2021

By: Don Pathan

In May 2021, Thai security forces were in a three-hour standoff with two Malay-Muslim separatist insurgents in a small remote village in the southernmost border province of Yala. As they stood their ground, the two combatants made video calls to family and friends to bid farewell. Someone began recording one of the calls on another cellphone. Soon, footage of the two men, who were killed in the operation, was circulating on social media. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Six Alternative Ways to Measure Peace in Nigeria

Six Alternative Ways to Measure Peace in Nigeria

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

By: Yagana Bukar; Aly Verjee; Chris Kwaja

When measured by the death toll, Nigeria seems beset by violence. By some accounts, the COVID-19 pandemic has made experiences of violence even more common — notably, Nigeria recorded a 169% increase in abductions between 2019 and 2020. While quantifying violence is relatively straightforward, defining what peace means to ordinary Nigerians has been largely overlooked, even if such definitions may be more meaningful. By exploring more nuanced understandings of peace, how these vary between and across communities, and finding which indicators of peace are most valued, peace might be better pursued. We went in search of how people in the states of Bauchi, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Plateau define peace. Here are six of our most important findings.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Fragility & Resilience

View All Publications