Breaking out of Afghanistan’s current economic stagnation, rising unemployment, and poverty will only be possible if there is strong, sustained progress toward durable peace and political stability. Lowering security costs and, over time, reducing the extremely high aid dependency is the only way for the country to move toward balancing its budget books.
Despite the Taliban’s failure to accept the Kabul government’s offer of another cease-fire this week, Johnny Walsh says that a political solution to the Afghanistan war is the best alternative to the current military stalemate. Even absent a cease-fire, hope remains that the peace process can move forward in 2018.
Afghanistan this year adopted a new penal code that moves the country toward meeting international standards on criminal justice. At the same time, it underscores the continued difficulties of reinforcing rights for Afghan women and girls. One reflection of this is its preservation of the discredited practice of “virginity testing”—a decision that Afghan women increasingly have opposed.
Following a series of positive developments in recent months, could the Trump administration’s decision to pursue direct talks with the Taliban revive the moribund peace process? U.S. Institute of Peace Senior Expert Johnny Walsh discusses the significance of this move and what we can expect from any potential negotiations.
The deal signed with Hezb-e Islami in September 2016 was the Afghanistan government’s first major success at negotiating a peace agreement with an insurgent group. This new report examines how the deal was negotiated, what progress has been made on its implementation, and what lessons can be applied to prospective peace talks with the Taliban.
With an eye to an eventual end to the Afghan insurgency, this report examines the struggle within Afghanistan’s National Unity Government over the country’s security sector and the related impact on the recruitment of Hezb-e Islami commanders and fighters in the security forces as agreed to under a 2016 peace deal.
A recent grassroots peace movement in Afghanistan began in late March 2018 as a series of sit-ins and a hunger strike in Helmand province demanding that both the government and Taliban implement a cease-fire. USIP’s Maria Stephan and Johnny Walsh discuss the significance of this nonviolent movement, how its bottom-up approach can strengthen the push for a peace, and what to expect from the movement going forward.
Despite widespread recognition that the only way toward ending the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan is a negotiated settlement, understanding of the Taliban’s thinking on the subject is remarkably scant. This report attempts to fill this gap by drawing on face-to-face interviews with Taliban foot soldiers, field commanders, and supporters to better understand the movement’s views on why they are fighting, what issues are negotiable, whether they have faith in negotiation as a way to peace, and what a peace process might look like.
The gunfire and explosions of Afghanistan’s war are to fall silent this weekend for the first time since U.S. troops entered the country nearly 17 years ago. That is because the Taliban leadership has...
As neighbors with a 585-mile frontier, Iran and Afghanistan have connections spanning centuries. Since 1979—the year of Iran’s revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan—relations between Tehran and Kabul have ebbed and flowed. USIP’s Scott Worden discusses the complex relationship between the two countries, how Iran has built influence there, and where the U.S. and Iranian interests have overlapped in relation to Kabul.