Error message

Much of the debate about a peace settlement with insurgents in Afghanistan focuses only on political or territorial power sharing. But a successful peace process will require a broader array of measures that allow conflicting parties to share influence and balance that influence with more roles for noncombatants, civilian political actors, and vulnerable groups.

peaceworks

Summary

  • While the need for a peace process to end the conflict in Afghanistan becomes clearer with each passing month, there are deep doubts about the chances of achieving a settlement. While the challenges are formidable, they are also potentially surmountable with the right kind of process and settlement.
  • All the phases of a peace process are linked. Beginning a process requires more than a conducive military situation; it also calls for potential negotiation scenarios that can generate the confidence to take the initial steps. The kind of negotiation that takes place will influence the comprehensiveness, quality, and therefore sustainability of the outcome.

About the Report

This report, funded by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is the product of a joint research project of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), and the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) to identify issues and options to support durable peace in Afghanistan. Previous publications stemming from the project include several USIP Peace Briefs and two research papers: Hamish Nixon, “Achieving Durable Peace: Afghan Perspectives on a Peace Process” (Oslo: PRIO, May 2011) and Deedee Derksen, “Peace from the Bottom-Up? The Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program” (Oslo: PRIO, September 2011).

About the Authors

Hamish Nixon is project coordinator of the joint research project on durable peace in Afghanistan. He spent five years in Afghanistan working on governance with the World Bank and the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, and has researched peace processes and post-conflict governance in Cambodia, El Salvador, and Afghanistan.

Caroline Hartzell was a 2010–11 Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and is professor of political science at Gettysburg College. She is researching the effects that civil war settlements have on post-conflict economic development, and is coauthor of Crafting Peace: Power-Sharing Institutions and the Negotiated Settlement of Civil Wars (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007). The authors would like to thank all those who spoke with them in Afghanistan and colleagues who provided comments on the paper.

 

Related Publications

Finding a Regional Solution for Afghanistan

Finding a Regional Solution for Afghanistan

Monday, April 16, 2012

On April 6, USIP's South Asia Adviser Moeed Yusuf; Abubakar Siddique, senior news correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh, associate researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo and professor MPA at Sciences Po in Paris; and Alireza Nader, senior international policy analyst at the RAND Corporation discussed the various problems and potential solutions to improving cooperation and collaboration from Afghanistan's neighbors with the ultimate objective of pro...

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Economics & Environment; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

Myths and Misconceptions in the Afghan Transition

Myths and Misconceptions in the Afghan Transition

Monday, April 9, 2012

By: Shahmahmood Miakhel; Noah Coburn

The authors have worked for many years in the Kabul office of the United States Institute of Peace in Afghanistan on local governance and rule of law projects. Shahmahmood Miakhel is USIP's Country Director in Afghanistan. From 2003-2005 he was deputy minister of the Interior. Noah Coburn is a political anthropologist focusing on informal justice in Afghanistan and is currently teaching at Skidmore College. He has been conducting research in Afghanistan since 2005 and is the author of "Bazaar...

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

Building Peace and a Partnership with the Military

Thursday, December 8, 2011

We asked USIP leaders, from board members to senior staff and experts to explain the effect that events around the world and here at home will have on the U.S. and the contributions the Institute can and does make during a time of tremendous challenge – and opportunity. USIP Chief of Staff Retired Col. Paul Hughes served nearly 30 years on active duty with the Army.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Education & Training; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Education & Training

View All Publications