Troop withdrawal is ahead of schedule, but that’s “proving to be bad news for the overall political situation … and a setback for peace talks,” says USIP’s Scott Worden. While it seems likely that fighting will ramp up, if another military stalemate occurs there could be “a ripe opportunity for talks.”

On Peace is a weekly podcast sponsored by USIP and Sirius XM POTUS Ch. 124. After a brief hiatus, On Peace is available again on a weekly basis. Each week, USIP experts tackle the latest foreign policy issues from around the world.

Related Publications

11 Things to Know: Afghanistan on the Eve of Withdrawal

11 Things to Know: Afghanistan on the Eve of Withdrawal

Thursday, June 17, 2021

By: Andrew Wilder; Scott Worden

U.S. and NATO troops are rapidly executing President Biden’s policy of a complete withdrawal of American troops and contactors supporting the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) by a deadline of September 11. Based on the rate of progress, the last American soldier could depart before the end of July. The decision to withdraw without a cease-fire or a framework for a political agreement between the Taliban and the government caught Afghans and regional countries by surprise. The Taliban have capitalized on the moment to seize dozens of districts and project an air of confidence and victory.  

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes; Fragility & Resilience

Kabul School Bombing Reinforces Fears Over Post-Withdrawal Security

Kabul School Bombing Reinforces Fears Over Post-Withdrawal Security

Thursday, May 20, 2021

By: Belquis Ahmadi; Fatema Ahmadi

For the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood of Kabul, home to the Hazara minority group, the devastating May 8 bombing outside a school is part of a disturbing trend of attacks in the area. The bombing killed at least 85 and injured around 150 — mostly young girls — and coincided with concerns of escalating violence as the United States withdraws combat troops from Afghanistan. Although no group has claimed responsibility, the Islamic State group (ISIS) has perpetrated similar attacks in the past and many suspect it was again responsible. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Peace Processes

Even After Withdrawal, U.S. Retains Leverage Over Taliban

Even After Withdrawal, U.S. Retains Leverage Over Taliban

Thursday, April 29, 2021

By: Karen Decker

President Biden’s announcement that U.S. troops would withdraw by September 11 has many Afghans and observers warning of a quick collapse of the Afghan state and a new phase in the country’s civil war. Without minimizing the challenges ahead, the United States should avoid any self-fulfilling prophecy of imminent collapse by insisting that the only future for Afghanistan is one that advances the gains of the past 20 years. As troops begin to depart, it is an opportune time to examine three forms of leverage the United States has to promote a political settlement.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Democracy Is the Afghan Government’s Best Defense Against the Taliban

Democracy Is the Afghan Government’s Best Defense Against the Taliban

Thursday, April 22, 2021

By: Scott Worden; Belquis Ahmadi

The Biden administration’s announcement last week that U.S. troops would be out of Afghanistan by September 11 came as a blow to the current peace talks and many Afghan citizens who appreciate the rights and freedoms that international forces have helped to defend against the Taliban. Still, President Biden made clear that the United States continues to support the Afghan government and democratic system, and, to that end, the administration has indicated it would request $300 million from Congress in additional civilian aid. But Biden explicitly de-linked U.S. troops from that equation — stating that they would not be “a bargaining chip between warring parties.”

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes; Gender; Democracy & Governance

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